Four Weddings and a Funeral
1994, R, 117 min. Directed by Mike Newell. Starring Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Kristin Scott Thomas, Simon Callow, James Fleet, John Hannah, Charlotte Coleman, David Brower.
REVIEWED By Louis Black, Fri., April 8, 1994
At a friend's wedding, to which he arrives, as he always does, late, Charles (Grant) spies the woman of his much tortured bachelor dreams. He meets Carrie (McDowell); at first it is a disaster, but they keep meeting, maybe they fall in love… well, definitely, he falls in love. She leaves for America. Through three more weddings and a funeral, giving away nothing, Charles and Carrie will run into each other. Carrie is only a passing presence in this very funny, very romantic comedy mostly about Charles and his friends. This delightfully eccentric tight-knit group includes Scarlett (Coleman), his roommate; Gareth (Callow) and Matthew (Hannah), a gay couple; a stunning acerbic sister (Thomas) and bumbling incompetent brother (Fleet) who belong to the seventh richest family in England; and his brother (Bower), who is deaf. During the course of the movie, all of which occurs at weddings, preparations for weddings, and a funeral, the characters talk. Endlessly and, thankfully, cleverly, they talk about themselves, about love, about marriage, about commitment, about relationships, and remarkably little about sex, though there is ample activity going on. Mostly you come to know these characters so, by the end, you want to watch the film again just to spend more time with them. I usually don't like British comedy, so much of it is about class. Accordingly, this film simply ignores economic reality. People work at jobs they never describe, everyone seems to have ample money. But there is the amazing romantic center, about a group going through emotional and evolutional changes together. Less contemplative than Return of the Secaucus Seven or The Big Chill, Four Weddings is more a romantic screwball comedy, one is as intoxicated by words, dialogue and characters as by love.