Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) – Mike Newell

Mike Newell ably directs from a sharp script by Richard Curtis, and what we are delivered is the next recommendation from the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book following my screening of Pretty Woman.

This one is sharp, and enjoyable, though if I am blatantly honest, I’ve never been a fan of the film’s leads Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell. Still the supporting cast is a brilliant who’s who of British talent; Simon Callow, John Hannah, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Rowan Atkinson.

The story is told over the course of four weddings, and one funeral, not necessarily in that order and it follows perpetual bachelor, Charles (Grant) who never seemed to get struck by that thunder bolt of love and has simply flitted from one relationship to another, usually at a wedding.

Enter Carrie (MacDowell) an American he meets at the first wedding, and becomes smitten with, not realising that he’s already falling for her or the repercussions that will cause for him.

Curtis’ script is top-notch, knowing how to turn a phrase, the best place for an expletive, and of course, the ingrained tradition of manners and politeness that is British society.

Despite caring for one another, the pair just can’t seem to get their romantic lives together, and Grant uses his smarmy boy-like charm to try to make his point as politely as he can.


But the real performance I, and probably every one else, enjoys is Simon Callow’s turn as the flamboyant, occasionally rude, and always brilliantly funny, with some really colourful waistcoats, Gareth.

I know it sounds mean, but I like everything in the film but for Grant and MacDowall. I don’t know, there’s just something there that doesn’t work for me, and I honestly don’t want to pontificate on it for too long.

The rest of the film, however, is top-notch. and Curtis’ script is brilliant, playing up the romantic side when it’s needed, and making the humour smart and human, while never descending to the level of farce.

As romantic comedies go, this is a British classic, and started a minor wave of Brit rom-coms in the 90s. I don’t think any of them had a script as good as this one, and sadly, most of them featured Hugh Grant.

I think it’s time for a new Brit rom-com, and perhaps we can find someone really likeable to take the leads… hey you think Idris Elba could do one? That man can do anything!


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