Thursday, October 24, 2013

872. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)


Running Time: 117 minutes
Directed By: Mike Newell
Written By: Richard Curtis
Main Cast: Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, James Fleet, Simon Callow, John Hannah
Click here to view the trailer

LOVE AND DEATH

So far, this vacation is proving to be quite productive, as not only have I written three reviews in the past day and a half, I also have four of the seven FRIGHTFEST films written and scheduled to post. Of course, this means that starting tomorrow, prepare to get bombarded with film reviews from yours truly. Anyway, "Four Weddings and a Funeral"...


The film's plot is all right there in it's title: four weddings and one funeral. The film starts, believe it or not, with a wedding, in which the friends and family of the happy couple gather together to bless the impending matrimony. The couple involved in the nuptials really aren't the important part, as the audience takes the time to become more intimate with the guests. There's Charles (Grant), confirmed and seemingly lifelong bachelor, his just as hopeless flat mate Scarlett, his deaf brother David, his gay best friend Matthew (Hannah), Matthew's partner Gareth (Callow), Charles' other, female friend Fiona (Kristen Scott Thomas) and a host of others. While at wedding #1, Charles meets and participates in love at first sight with the beautiful, American Carrie (MacDowell). At the end of the night, he ends up in her hotel room and...well, one thing leads to another. The next morning, she heads back to America, leaving him a bit broken hearted. Luckily, there's another wedding on the way, as two more of Charles' friends tie the knot and this time, Carrie is invited again and again she and Charles end the night in bed. However, this time Carrie arrives with the news of her own impending wedding, as she's engaged to a Scotsman. She sleeps with Charles despite this and then there's a brief, sort of intermission from the celebrations of wedding bells, so that the filmmaker can cement the fact that Charles and Carrie are madly attracted to one another, despite her engagement. I won't blow the rest of the film for you, but the film does a fine job of making you guess who will be the next two to get married and who will die.

SPOILER ALERT!

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


That is called "Funeral Blues" or "Stop All the Clocks" and was written by W.H. Auden and was read to perfection by John Hannah, during the funeral portion of the film. He read it with all the struggle of a real funeral mourner, fighting back tears and sharing sorrow with loved ones. Anyway, I guess I could easily segue into the cast, which wasn't blow away, but wasn't bad either. I'm an admitted fan of Hugh Grant and this film only helped to further cement that opinion. Of course, I loved John Hannah here too and I always find Andie MacDowell easily watchable, although she is quite easy on the eyes. She may have been a bit miscast here, amongst some of the top, young British talent of the 90s, but she did with the role what she could and it wasn't horrific or anything.


Surprisingly, I'd never seen this movie before and it's odd considering it is one of the five 1994 Best Picture nominees that people always seem to rave about. It's also one of the two Best Picture nominees from that year that really didn't stand a chance (along with "Quiz Show"), as it was always going to be "Forrest Gump", "Pulp Fiction" or "The Shawshank Redemption" taking home the top honors that year. However, I sat down today, with my wife (because I just knew she'd love this one - and she did) and we watched it and had a ball guessing at who the next two would be to get married. Would it be David or Scarlett? What about the pairing of Charles and Carrie? Would Hamish be the funeral, so that Charles could have Carrie? Would Fiona tie the knot? So many questions and it was tons of fun guessing and speculating and then watching it all play out. Not only did it feature classic romantic comedy bits, but also featured some down right, laugh out loud comedy (see Rowan Atkinson) making it a truly "must see" comedy affair. Plus, it ended like all romantic comedies should, with two people kissing in the rain.

RATING: 7/10  I'll leave it at that for tonight and call that a review. Man, this season is shaping up to be one that's going to have me racking my brain come TOP 20 time. Lots of good stuff coming down the pike...

MOVIES WATCHED: 748
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 253

October 24, 2013  7:48pm

2 comments:

  1. This sudden 'post satantango, holiday period/frightfest' rush of yours has left me behind a bit.
    And so to that modern British cultural institution.. the Richad Curtis RomCom.
    How much damage has bee caused to Anglo American relations by having Americans think we all look/behave like Hugh Grant? (and by that i don't mean picking up trans-sexual hookers).

    I'm never quite sure what I feel about these films.. Something in me hates them for their self-satisfied smugness. Round up a bunch of mixed types, including as many minorities as you feel like, ensuring at least one varied disability per film, give them all well heeled life styles in which they never seem to actually do anything useful.. Stick in a few British acting National Treasures.. follow a predictable boy-meets-girl-boy loses-girl with a happy ending plot and.. repeat ad-nausium.
    I really should hate these films.
    And yet I've never been failed to be entertained (on first viewing) by any of them. Even the well doddgy 'The boat that rocked'
    (explanatory note to non UK readers; For the past year, we have had a seemingly constant series of revelations and arrests of top names in 1960's TV/radio music light entertainment for the type of underage sexual exploitation shown as humerous in 'The boat that rocked')
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I promise I didn't think you were anything like Hugh Grant. But, like you, I may consider this somewhat of a guilty pleasure.

      Delete

SINS OF OMISSION - Entry #65: Les nuits de la pleine lune/Full Moon in Paris (1984)

Running Time: 100 minutes Directed By: Eric Rohmer Written By: Eric Rohmer Main Cast: Pascale Ogier, Tcheky Karyo, Fabrice Luchini,...