I decided to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 with a Greek grandmother, which was an entertaining experience.
I’ll be honest and say that I was never really a massive fan of the My Big Fat Greek Wedding franchise. Truthfully, I think it’s because I have a pretty high bar for the best romantic comedies of all time. While the original My Big Fat Greek Wedding is fun, it never really caught my interest as much. Maybe it was because I didn’t have anyone to relate to when I first watched it.
However, in 2016, I met my current boyfriend, who comes from a Greek background. His grandmother (affectionately known as Yia Yia) is very Greek in her culture and religion (Greek Orthodox). After seven years of knowing her, I also consider her a part of my family. As someone who lost her biological grandmother at a young age, Yia Yia filled that role for me by embracing me into my boyfriend’s family very quickly. I had never felt so welcomed.
So in 2023, when we were celebrating Yia Yia’s birthday, we all decided to go and see My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3. Admittedly, I wasn’t a big fan of the idea at first, but I’ll admit that seeing this film with a Greek grandmother changed my position on the franchise — and I just had to talk about it.
The Both Of Us Loved Seeing How Giving And Loving The Portokalos Family Was
When it comes to portraying families in modern-day movies or TV, I’ll admit that my favorite kind to watch is usually dysfunctional families. It’s not that I crave the unstableness of these shows and movies that portray it so well, such as the popular Showtime series Shameless or the murder mystery Knives Out, I just love the entertaining and creative stories this kind of trope produces.
I believe the real reason I enjoy watching them is A) they’re entertaining and B) people like to view what they don’t experience, almost like a fresh set of eyes into a different world that we are unfamiliar with. As someone who grew up in a very loving family and has a boyfriend with a very loving family, I like to check out shows and movies where it’s the opposite.
But I think what I did love about My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 – and what Yia Yia loved a lot about it – was, ironically, how giving and loving the Portokalos family was. From the moment they arrive in Greece, you can tell that they genuinely love and care for each other despite the crazy situations they are thrown into.
For example, when Cousin Nicki and her brother, Angelo, travel to Syros to track down Gus’ friends to help Toula with her father’s last wish. That’s the kind of hospitality and love I’ve only seen in films like this. And Yia Yia knew it, too. She loved that the film wasn’t afraid to show how giving and open everyone was, which I also appreciated.
She Loved Seeing How The Importance Of Food Was Shown In The Film
If you know a Greek grandmother, you know that food is just as important as family. Food is the foundation of any good family gathering. As someone who is still just a novice when it comes to that and loves to watch the best cooking shows to learn, it’s always fun to see food portrayed in a way that is important to a film.
Food, in general, is a huge deal. It was a significant part of this movie as well in any celebration. From the items placed underneath Paris’ pillow before the wedding as a Greek tradition to the food they served at the wedding to even neighbors and strangers to the Portokalos family, bringing ingredients over to where they were staying, food is essential.
It was another example of how giving and generous the culture is, which Yia Yia admired.
However, She Did Teach Me A Few Things About How It Misrepresented Her Religion
As someone who grew up with a religious mother (where we watched Carrie together and had a long talk about religion), I can completely understand when viewers feel that moments added to the film for the sake of the plot or the story can feel unneeded or even disrespectful. Truthfully, Yia Yia also taught me about her religion from this movie, which I have always sincerely appreciated.
It was only two things out of the entire movie that bothered her, but they were important. One was that in the Greek Orthodox religion (which is what the Portokalos family is), Greeks are never put in urns, which bothered her. The other was a line where the Aunties joked that they cast “Greek voodoo” on Paris when they placed those food items under her pillow. To Yia Yia, voodoo is something that is never talked about in church for obvious reasons.
In the movie, it was meant to come across as a joke, but as someone who is always open to other people’s opinions, I can appreciate her point of view and understand where she’s coming from. I always loved learning about how other people are affected by decisions in films that sometimes don’t affect me, and this was a great moment.
It Opened Up My Eyes To How Important Properly Displaying Her Culture Is To Her
I don’t know why I never thought about it this way, but My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 (or perhaps the franchise) is what Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is for my father and me.
I hold my culture very close to my heart as a proud Latina who will gladly watch the best Latinx TV shows or promote anything to do with Latinx culture because it deserves so much praise. I love Across the Spider-Verse because it’s a great story with outstanding representation.
This movie is one of the few that accurately portrays what it’s like to be in a Greek family, from the food to the friends to the traditions and the religion. It’s no wonder Yia Yia wanted to see it – because she sees her culture accurately reflected, which she loves and keeps close to her heart. And I never really thought about it that way.
While it’s not my type of movie, I can love it for them. I want to see the smiles on their faces at the jokes that might go over my head, but they understand all the same. Even if I didn’t quite get the jokes only Greeks notice sometimes, I still found myself grinning all the same at their laughter.
All In All, She Taught Me A Lot About Her Religion And Culture Just From Seeing The Movie – Something I Wouldn’t Have Gotten The Chance To Learn Before
I’ve said this before – watching films with another generation is such a great time, and I would recommend it to anyone. Not only do you get to see a new movie, but you get to understand where the other person is coming from.
Before this film, I believed I knew Yia Yia pretty well after seven years, but now I’ve learned that there is more to learn, no matter what. It opened my eyes to the fact that there is always more about us deep below the surface, and sometimes, literally, all it takes is sitting down and watching a movie with others to start a conversation.
Now, I’m more open to films that might not be specifically catered to broader audiences. I may not get the jokes at first or take a little time to catch up with the plot, but when I’m learning about something important to someone I love, that matters most. I would do this again in a heartbeat.
As I do with any of these articles, I have to give praise to Yia Yia because, without her, I certainly wouldn’t have seen this film in this neverending world of streaming movies, big-time blockbusters, and the 2023 film schedule that is filled to the brim with projects. So, thank you, Yia Yia, for helping me expand my mind even more.
Thank you for being just as giving and welcoming as the Portokalos family back then, and even more so now, with all my heart and love.
In this world of neverending sequels, prequels, and all that jazz, I’ll say that My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 was fun. Was it the best film of 2023? That’s up to you to decide. For me, that will always be Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. However, it was a fun time that I got to experience with the ones I love – and when you have that, what else can you ask for?