The Wedding Gift
1994, NR Directed by Richard Loncraine. Starring Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Sian Thomas, Thora Hird.
REVIEWED By Brian Baker, Fri., Aug. 12, 1994
The Wedding Gift is the true story of Diana Longden (Walters) who, suddenly and without warning, contracts an unclassifiable, mysterious disease. Throughout the course of the illness, her husband Deric (Broadbent) devotes the majority of his time to her. He ignores his business, which is losing 200 pounds per week, and becomes so worn out that he often falls asleep behind the wheel of his car. The couple is forced to put up with doctors who cannot find the cause of her problem and who often act as if they couldn't care less. Through the hard times, their relationship grows stronger and it is this love that enables both of them to survive her slowly crippling disease. The Wedding Gift is a fairly slow film, but the phenomenal acting commands attention at all times. Walters and Broadbent are remarkably believable as an old married couple. They exude the feeling of history that only a happily married couple could give off by joking, chiding, and yelling at one another. Their attitude toward Diana's oncoming death is one of unwilling acceptance, and they are full of a desire to get as much as possible out of their remaining time together. The film's sardonic British humor works extremely well. Deric's senile mother (Thora Hird) is the oblivious philosopher who infuses The Wedding Gift with some much-needed humor. She rattles off bits of wisdom, such as her feelings on death (“If it isn't someone, it's someone else.”), in a fashion that is brilliantly almost helpful and always well-meant. The movie takes an interesting and emotional turn when Deric meets a blind author (Sian Thomas) and begins to have feelings for her. As he wrestles with his love for his wife versus his needs and desires, The Wedding Gift becomes a tale, not only of true love, but one of how that love can last well past death.