Made of Honor features the story of two best friends with the worst timing. Michelle Monaghan plays Hannah, an artistic soul that doesn’t put up with any kind of nonsense—including Tom’s (Patrick Dempsey), her best friend. Tom is a wealthy inventor of the “coffee collar”, otherwise known as the covers you place around your cup to save your fingers a third-degree burn from your drink. He plays the field a bit much but he truly cares for Hannah.
It would seem the two are terribly mismatched and would never stay together, yet they prove our cynical minds wrong. After an interesting meeting of Tom getting into bed with Hannah by mistake, the two develop an unbreakable bond that lasts 10 years into the future, which we flash-forward to from 1998. It’s clear the two are meant for each other by this time. Tom ditches his one-night stand to hang out with Hannah, they order their food in perfect harmony knowing what the other wants and they fall into comfortable, easy conversation.
Few people have such a connection, but Tom and Hannah have somehow achieved it, placing a lot of time and effort into their relationship over the years. Unfortunately, Tom’s too oblivious to see the meaning and Hannah appears too afraid to voice her feelings—it’s clear she feels something for him if the way she holds onto him as they dance at Tom’s father’s wedding is anything to go by.
Tom doesn’t realize what he has until Hannah jets off to Scotland for work, and just when Tom’s about to tell Hannah how he feels, he literally capsizes, running into a waiter the moment he spots her with her new beau, Colin (Kevin McKidd). When she asks Tom to be her maid of honor, he sets himself upon a warpath to steal the bride and ditch the groom, with often disastrous—but hilarious—results.
As in a typical romantic comedy, Tom runs into several obstacles. Primarily caused by Melissa (Busy Philips), one of Hannah’s bridesmaids. Melissa sets up Tom for failure at every turn (given they once dated and obviously parted on bad terms), most notably when she tries sleeping with him the night before the wedding. Just when it looks like his chances are ruined, Tom realizes he has to fight for Hannah and gets on horseback to save the day and crash her wedding—when Tom does something, it’s usually quite literally and with an unforgettable approach.
Made of Honor possesses typical qualities of the romantic comedy. Like this article notes, it contains the comic first meeting, the element that the leading man and woman are polar opposites and the fact that the film, of course, has a happy ending. It may exude clichés from head-to-toe and maybe a little over the top, but who doesn’t need sensational gestures every once in a while? Plus, it holds something unique about its plot: the power of love between best friends.
Best Friends Over All
The power of best friends is palpable. You can feel their bond even if you’ve never met. Best friends are there for each other through thick and thin, and they have the kind of relationship that contains no secrets. Well, usually.
In the case of Tom and Hannah, their one secret isn’t that they broke the other’s remote or something otherwise trivial. It has to do with the rest of their lives. Given it’s a secret that could make or break them, and that’s a terrifying possibility. Yet, sometimes taking that daunting risk could turn into everything you ever wanted.
Hannah clearly harbors feelings on some level for Tom. Tom’s too blind to see it; he’s too busy parading around with various women, living a promiscuous lifestyle that clouds his vision. That is, until he notices how incompatible he is with his flings and realizes the person he shares the utmost compatibility with is Hannah. Of course, she just happens to be away when he comes to his senses.
As in real life, Hannah moves on. She’s a young woman with hopes and dreams that’s looking to share her life with someone special. Thinking Tom is off-limits, or too afraid of ruining their friendship, Hannah falls for someone else. She and Tom both have the worst timing in the world; sometimes you have to wait for these things to come together. Then again, you don’t always know that they will, so you want to move forward with your life as best as you can in the meantime. It’s a tricky path to navigate, and an even more difficult decision to make when the time comes.
Tom prides himself on being completely honest with everybody. As the film points out, he’s done that with everyone but himself. As well as his best friend. Humans are flawed creatures that sometimes don’t learn their lesson until it’s too late, and then we spend forever trying to right our wrongs. For Tom, it works out. You couldn’t have a romantic comedy if the characters didn’t sort through their issues, after all.
My favorite scene in the entire film is Tom riding on horseback to get to Hannah’s wedding before it’s too late, like a knight in shining jacket and jeans come to save his love. It’s noteworthy that Tom realizes in his own way that he can’t just leave; he has to fight for her. It seems this doesn’t happen often in the romantic comedy; usually a character like Tom’s has to be pushed by some kind of outside help from a friend or weird sidekick of sorts before they realize what they want.
I love how Tom comes flying through the doors, winding himself as he lands face-first on the ground. I love how Hannah comes running to him, for him. I even loved that they shared the passionate kiss they did, even though they were surrounded by shocked and angry family members and Hannah’s almost-husband. Their love is so strong that they only see each other in that church; no one else is present, it’s just them. That’s how it should be.
The other thing worth mentioning is that this film takes place in both New York City and Scotland. I personally believe a romantic comedy is even more exhilarating when it takes place in other countries. The beautiful scenery, the culture, and how the characters fall into it (like Tom in the Highland Games) add comedy, but more importantly, a sense of mystery, intrigue, and charm.
Love doesn’t always make sense. It doesn’t have to. It just has to make enough sense to work for the two people involved. This film is about best friends realizing that. Their timing may have been disastrously off but they still wind up happily together forevermore, with a few laughs to remember their journey by. Like Tom in a kilt. I can’t get over the sidesplitting humor of that.
Best friends falling in love may be cliché or vastly overrated, but sometimes going back to simple storylines or otherwise engaging in daydreams is sometimes the foundation we need to get back to. Best friends typically know everything about the other. They’ve been through rain and shine and have lasted long enough to see the other’s true self along the way. Needless to say, if they’ve seen you at your worst and still stuck by your side, you can be rest assured it’s meant to last. That’s why Tom and Hannah are meant to be.
Best friends are the epitome of what many people desire in their relationships. A friendship morphing into a relationship successfully seems very unlikely. So few have the guts to express their feelings and even fewer have their feelings reciprocated. Still, when it does work, it’s a precious thing that you can be sure to never take advantage of, nor take for granted. It’s rare, and it’s perhaps one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, love to exist.
I love a good romantic comedy. From Sleepless in Seattle to 50 First Dates, I’ve seen them all. The best friends aspect and their accompanying history is what’s so special about Made of Honor. It’s genuine because it seems that it happens often enough in the real world. It may not work out exactly like the film, but to some degree we’ve all been through something like it. At least it feels that way in a general consensus.
Chandler and Monica from Friends started out as close friends and we know how their story goes. Tom and Hannah seemed mismatched from the start, but still, they made it work. Watching couples like these make things work is inspiring—if they can make it work, so can we. Life is difficult and full of unknowns. Sometimes watching a movie like Made of Honor renews our faith in humanity and the world. Things can, and do, work out. Love really does exist. If they can make it through everything thrown at them, so could you and your significant other. Romantic comedies just make things seem possible when everything else is completely impossible. Every so often, we all need that reminder.
Made of Honor is about being honest with yourself, facing your fears and loving the person you’re scared to love the most. Nevertheless, if you take that risk, you may just find the love of your life and live happily ever after.