Quaker Oaths (2016) is a comedy film about a Quaker divorce. In the movie Emily and Joe get married in a Friends wedding. At the end of the ceremony, as is the practice of Quakers, everyone signs the wedding certificate. Six years later, after a long separation, the couple decide to divorce. Emily’s mother, upset, insists that they stay together. Finally, she tells them she will accept the divorce if they persuade everyone who signed their wedding certificate to cross off and initial their names. So what happens next? Road trip! (See the film to find out the rest of the story). Fede Rangel and Alex Dobrenko star as Emily and Joe. Louisiana Kreutz is the writer and director. The film won awards at the Breckenridge, Woods Hole, Deep in the Heart of Texas and Phoenix Film Festivals.
Quaker Oaths contains little about Friends. A Quaker wedding opens the film. The plot device of the wedding certificate is used. Friends, of course, do not get a divorce in the manner described above. The actual process is that the Ministry and Counsel Committee supports couples in conflict with each other. If no resolution to their conflicts can be found, the committee supports them through their divorce. Meeting for Business unites on a minute accepting the divorce. Louisiana Kreutz, the writer and director, is not a Friend. She attended a Quaker wedding and thought it was funny that everyone signed the wedding certificate. She joked that everyone would have to cross off and initial their names on the wedding certificate if the couple wanted a divorce. (The title, by the way, is a pun on Quaker Oats. Kreutz probably did not know Friends do not swear oaths).
Quaker Oaths is a delightful and quirky film. I enjoyed it greatly. Rangel and Dobrenko are charming. Kreutz’s writing and direction is sharply observed but with real warmth. An independent film, the production values are home-made. I recommend this film highly.
Quaker Oaths did make me wonder what a movie about contemporary Friends would be like. As I noted above, there is next to nothing about Quakers in this film. And I know of no other movie about present-day Friends. Anyone out there able and willing to do an updated Friendly Persuasion?
A link to the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxyqFdwd07I