A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Four Weddings & A Funeral

October 27, 2010

Four Weddings & A Funeral

When last I watched this movie I had not yet been to any weddings or funerals. Well, a couple family weddings I suppose as a kid, but I hadn’t really been a part of any weddings. So I enjoyed the comedy – the romance – of this movie, but I didn’t really appreciate how well it captured the awkwardness of large groups of people from all different branches of a person’s life converging at one chaotic and heavily choreographed event. Watching it now after not only getting married myself but also attending several other weddings adds another entire dimension to the film.

As the title implies this movie is about weddings and a funeral. More than that, really, it’s a love story played episodically as the protagonist becomes smitten with a woman he encounters at a friend’s wedding and proceeds to fall completely in love with her. The movie is divided into five “acts” each of which is a different ceremony. There are two things that stand out about this movie: the fantastic ensemble cast, and the absolutely brilliant writing.

This is, of course, the movie that launched Hugh Grant and his hangdog looks and stuttering patter to super-stardom. And well it should have. His performance as the ever-repressed and dreadfully timid Charles is perfect for the movie. From the very start he’s bumbling and lovable and completely charming but also completely lost. Andie MacDowell is Carrie, the gorgeous American woman he falls head over heels in love with, much to his own dismay. She’s an odd character with ill-defined goals, but I’m a sucker for her piercing eyes and her gentle southern twang. Then there’s the motley crew of fast friends that Charles encounters at every wedding. His tomboyish cute-as-a-button sister (I think) Scarlett (played with impish glee by Charlotte Coleman) his deaf brother David (played tenderly by real deaf actor David Bower) Kristin Scott Thomas as Fiona – the dour woman who has a secret crush on Charles, the slightly dim but always friendly Tom (James Fleet – who reminds me somewhat of Tom from the Norman Conquests) and the only real couple out of the whole group Matthew and Gareth. John Hannah as Matthew has the most touching and impassioned speech about love in the movie, and Simon Callow absolutely devours the role of Gareth, the boisterous life of every party, and steals every scene he’s in. Altogether they’re a fun group of friends, and as you get to know them all and their foibles, strengths and shortcomings you begin to see why they all need each other.

It’s the writing that’s the real star of the movie for me though. Richard Curtis has crafted something beautiful and unique in this movie. The way that he has captured the awkward dread of weddings is fantastic. I watch this film now and I think to myself “yeah, I remember moments like that” which sort of grounds the film. But it’s also an escapist fantasy. It’s a story about love at first sight, that enduring and appealing notion that there really is the perfect person out there for you and that when you meet them you’ll just know. It’s also got marvelously crafted comedy setpieces such as the dreadful wedding from hell where Charlie somehow ends up seated with every one of his ex-girlfriends. There’s just enough disappointment and awkwardness to lend the movie a sense of reality, which makes the delirious fantasy of true love all the more uplifting when it is realized.

And this movie is uplifting. It’s got moments of tenderness, of outrageous humor, of painful loss, and of pure bliss. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and it makes me so very happy to know that I’ve found the perfect person to spend the rest of my days with.

October 27, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: