Friday, September 18, 2009

Best British Films: 10. Four Weddings and a Funeral

It's been a while since I did a write-up of a title off The Observer's List of 25 Best British Films of the past 25 years (see sidebar). There was a little mix-up with my Netflix getting put in the wrong apartment mailbox, which thankfully is all straightened out today.

Four Weddings and a Funeral was one of the four titles I'd already seen when The Observer published their list earlier this month. I saw it years ago during my obsessive Kristin Scott Thomas phase, and vaguely remembered liking it, but thought it'd be a good idea to sit through it again just to give a more recent account of my opinion.

I love this movie. It's charming and cheerful and delightfully witty. It's the story of commitment-challenged Charles and a beautiful American, Carrie, who meet several times at various social gatherings and try to form a relationship. Charles has a band of eccentric friends, all wonderfully portrayed by various character actors, the best of which is Simon Callow as the ill-fated but jolly life of every party, Gareth.

The story is at times hysterical and at times touching and at times quite sad. Hugh Grant as Charles brings his usual endearing awkwardness, while Andie MacDowell takes a more direct (American?) approach to Carrie. I have to say (as a fan of hers) that MacDowell's performance is a weak point in the film for me. She seems too vacant and cold to inspire Charles' avid affection.

Nevertheless, Four Weddings and a Funeral is an irresistable portrait of the friends who become your family. ***1/2 / 4

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