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Mike Newell


  • Hugh Grant
  • Andie MacDowell
  • Kristin Scott Thomas
  • Simon Callow
  • John Hannah
  • James Fleet
  • Charlotte Coleman
  • David Bower
  • Rowan Atkinson

A most beguiling and funny romance that helped launch the career of Hugh Grant, Four Weddings and a Funeral has lost none of its witty edge, eccentric characters and unexpected pathos.

Charles(Hugh Grant) is someone who can’t seem to keep a relationship. He’s a perennial bachelor, never the groom. With a rag-tag group of friends- cynical Fiona(Kristin Scott Thomas), her not too bright brother Tom(James Fleet), partners Gareth and Matthew(Simon Callow and John Hannah), sassy flat mate Scarlett(Charlotte Coleman) and his deaf brother David(David Bower)- he’s always attending weddings. In most cases, he is late due to clumsiness. Although he’s never seemingly considered marriage or a serious relationship, he finds his world changed when he meets Carrie(Andie MacDowell). She’s an American wedding guest who he meets at the first nuptials. They hit it off and  spend the night together. But timing isn’t on their side and Carrie leaves for the States. The next time they meet(at another wedding) Carrie is engaged to someone else. For the first time in his life, Charles actually falls in love with someone deeply. But even though it’s clear that Carrie has some feeling for Charles, can anything come of the attraction seeing as though their timing is nearly always off?

Director Mike Newell brings polish and pace to proceedings with direction that allows the events to have amusing and fun atmosphere throughout, coupled with moments of sadness and reflection. As the events centre around the what the title says, we know to expect eventfulness, but it’s surprising how well crafted this romantic comedy is. Although it seems we may know where events are going, a few little twists and unexpected moments raise it from just another comedy romance. The Oscar-nominated screenplay from Richard Curtis is a big success at fleshing out the characters as they navigate the sea of love. The script makes us enjoy the company of these people and we grow to love them. They all have wit, charm and purpose in the story and you enjoy feeling like you know them as they encounter all manner of awkwardness at functions. From being seated at a table of exes to improvising when forgetting wedding rings, they all occur in hilarious fashion. Between the skill of Newell and the fun of Curtis, Four Weddings and a Funeral is a good-hearted success. Laughs flow like great wine and the entertainment factor is high.

But Four Weddings and a Funeral also has a bittersweet undercurrent to offset any worries of overly sentimental treacle. I mean if you aren’t crying at the funeral scene where ‘Funeral Blues’ is delivered, you’ve clearly not got much of a heart. This movie can deliver on the serious stuff and isn’t afraid to either. This balances with the buoyant feeling of the overall film that has a laugh at love’s complexities and bad sense of timing. Four Weddings and a Funeral is heartwarming stuff with that added something extra, that lands it in the pantheon of excellent romantic comedies. A lovely and tentative score backs up blossoming romance and all the feelings love brings out in people. And one can’t forget the use of ‘ Love Is All Around ‘by Wet, Wet, Wet to close out the film.

Heading the cast is the irrepressibly charismatic Hugh Grant. Though he’s visited the persona of bumbling and foppish leading man many times in his career, this was where it started and is one of his best. Grant just boasts this lovable rogue and awkward vibe to him that really makes a mark in the film as he finally discovers love may in fact be on the cards for him. Endearing is the perfect word for Hugh Grant’s star making presence here. People occasionally rag on Andie MacDowell by saying she’s not the most expressive actress and sometimes it’s true ,but I think she is quite well cast as the potential love interest. She’s got radiance, vitality and a certain mystery that I love and displays they under good direction MacDowell is really something.  Plus her burgeoning chemistry with Grant is delightful. Kristin Scott Thomas is reliable as ever, turning the role of the sarcastic Fiona into something more by revealing that her behaviour stems from unrequited love. Simon Callow and John Hannah are wonderful scene stealers playing the only happy couple among their group of friends. Callow is brash and full of life, Hannah is more subdued but wise. Both compliment the other in an inspired way that is convincing and involving. James Fleet is a hoot as is Charlotte Coleman as the most off the wall member of the gang and David Bower as Charles’ brother, who comes in handy in a crisis. An amusing small part is filled with great humour by Rowan Atkinson as a completely inept vicar.

A winning romantic comedy with heart and laughs, Four Weddings and a Funeral is hard to resist.