Four Weddings and a Funeral
Directed by Mike Newell (1994)
jusco’s Rating: ★★★1/2
This delightful British romantic comedy kicked off Hugh Grant’s career and rightfully so. There’s something about him that is highly enjoyable to watch; we laugh at his witty remarks, we cringe when he is clumsy and makes stupid mistakes, we are happy for him when he finds true love. Sure, it’s formulaic as evidenced in his later films; Notting Hill, About A Boy, Love Actually, just to name a few. But he is the master of playing romcom leads, and it’s a wickedly pleasant indulgence to watch him in action. In Four Weddings and a Funeral, he charms both the audience and an American lady he meets at a wedding (the first of four), and we follow his exploits in attempting to win her over, amidst a hilarious bunch of friends and another suitor.
This is a comedy that is actually funny, with plenty of smart dialogue to laugh at. Granted, it is all Richard Curtis’ doing (the master of comedic writing: check Blackadder, Mr. Bean, The Vicar of Dibley), but the cast does deliver it spot on. Special mentions goes to Simon Callow and David Haig for playing two of Hugh Grant’s friends, Charlotte Coleman for playing his flatmate and Rowan Atkinson, as always, steals the show with a brief but hilarious scene as a priest-in-learning. Andie MacDowell is sweet and will steal anyone’s heart with her portrayal of Hugh Grant’s love interest. A solid, well-picked cast.
Despite an overall light-hearted tone, there is one particularly emotional scene that is both tragic and moving, and features the beautiful poem, Funeral Blues, by W.H. Auden. It is in this scene where Four Weddings and a Funeral proves itself as not just your typical romcom, but is deeply layered and even meaningful. The mood switches from happy and carefree, to solemn and heartbreaking, to happy once again. It’s the perfect feel-good formula that will get you smiling and this is one romantic comedy that manages to pull it off extremely well.