D. Macro-Analysis

The five steps of grief are crucial in both Love Letter and in A Wedding Invitation. The five steps in original order are: denial & isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance. denial & isolation is cutting off contact with others and also denying the truth from one’s self. Anger happens once denial & isolation end and the realization becomes too much that an inner rage forms and requires a release. That then transitions to an inner anger, bargaining, when the one enduring the five steps wishes they could have done something else to change the outcome of the event. Once the previous step ends, depression usually occurs and is the deepest form of sadness felt, due to the grief, as if nothing else will make life better or more bearable. However, when the last step is reached then acceptance is finally understand and coming to terms with the event and grief that the event caused. It is important to understand that the five steps of grief’s order is not concrete, which both films show, and can occur in a different order.

The two scenes previously analyze are smaller scale versions of the steps. The order of steps used to get to the final step, acceptance, is often different. Love Letter uses the five steps in the order of depression, anger, denial & isolation, bargaining, and then acceptance. A Wedding Invitation shows the steps in the order of anger, denial & isolation, depression, bargaining, and finally acceptance. In Love Letter, it is assumed that depression had been expressed before the film, but also shows the remnants of the step into the funeral scene. Itsuki shows anger at the funeral when the attendants are more concerned with what they will do after the ceremony instead of mourning the loss of her husband. Denial & isolation is displayed when Itsuki refuses to accept her husband’s death; she won’t even speak with the mailman. The step of bargaining occurs nearing the end of the film when she calls herself selfish for wanting more out of her husband, which is impossible now, since he is no longer alive. After she releases her feelings to the mountain she reaches the final stage of acceptance. The path Itsuki took is much different from the one Lixiang takes in A Wedding Invitation. The film shows the steps in the order of anger, denial & isolation, depression, bargaining, and finally acceptance. The steps are in a different order than they were in Love Letter and much different from the original order. Anger exposed when QiaoQiao says they should break off their relationship of many years and this angers Lixiang. Denial & isolation was presented when they actually do separate for five years and during that time Lixiang refuses to accept defeat and perseveres to make the life that QiaoQiao “wanted” to make her happy. Depression was displayed when he learns the truth about QiaoQiao’s secret and the cancer that kept them apart and from being happy. Which is followed by the step of bargaining and was demonstrated nearing the end when Lixiang said he had not done enough for her and he deeply wishes he could have changed the result of that. Unfortunately, it is too late, but just like Love Letter, acceptance is found as the final step in Lixiang’s process of recovery. Both films are similar, but at the same time extremely different.

All of the five stages of grief are present in both films, but appears at different times and in a different order within the film. Love Letter puts the most emphasis on the denial & isolation stage than the other four, but they are no less felt by the main character. The main characters in A Wedding Invitation definitely go through all the steps throughout the duration of the film, but overall the main emphasis is on the step of anger, which appears to often be mixed with passion and at times confusion in the film. The take away point is that both films in the end show the acceptance of the event and the grief that was attached. While the paths to getting to then final step were completely different, the films show that it is possible to find more than one way to acceptance and happiness.


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