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Four Weddings and a Funeral

He's quite engaging. She's otherwise engaged. 

Year: 1994 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 (Wide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Four Weddings and a Funeral

Four Weddings and a Funeral is a romantic comedy of a style that sets itself outside the mould of more recent offerings. Rather than simply providing relationship laughs as we watch the ups and downs of a new couple, Four Weddings gives us a comprehensive look at a group of friends all looking for love, but finding themselves at other people's weddings. It is very British in its script, style and feeling and takes a more delicate approach than many American romantic comedies do.

Hugh Grant plays Charles, who finds himself falling for Andie MacDowell's American, Carrie, but is unable to make a commitment to her. Among his friends, Simon Callow and John Hannah are notable as a brilliantly depicted gay couple, with Callow especially bringing a touch of humour and eccentricity to every scene he is in.

The film was a major boost to Hugh Grant's career, and deservedly so as his performance is a brilliantly observed caricature of British absurdity. It is the whole cast working together, however, that turns this film from a romantic-comedy-by-numbers into an intriguing and brilliantly-told story involving everyone in Charles' circle of friends. All of the characters have their own problems to deal with, and their stories are told subtly enough that by the end of the film the audience cares about what happens to each of them, something so often missing from modern films.

The script is very well written and, along with the great cast performance, means that the film is able to go from comedy to tragedy in seconds, taking the audience's emotions on a wide ranging journey through the course of the film. If you have not seen this film yet, now is an excellent chance to find out just why its reputation has simply grown since its release over ten years ago.

Patrick Telford

In case you've been on Mars and aren't aware of the fact, this is simply the comedy film of last year. Writer Richard Curtis (of 'Blackadder' fame) brings us this classic retelling of those nasty social situations which we all hate. Non-stop hilarity ensues as bachelor Charles (Grant) lurches from one cringingly embarrassing episode to another, trying to sort out the strange attraction he feels for a beautiful American (MacDowell) who he meets at wedding No. 1.

The developing relationship between marriage-shy Charles and Carrie is held together beautifully by the counterpoint of the other weddings of the title, through which the film is structured, and interwoven with the equally chaotic lives of his friends - including the sreetwise and zany Scarlett, whose position as Charles' flatmate and friend of the rest of the oh-so-Oxbridge crew is never really explained.

A star cameo from Rowan Atkinson must be mentioned; the man from Mr Bean plays the part of a new priest, anxious and incompetent. When he finally performs one of the wedding ceremonies, he fudges it with hilarious ease.

A large part of the film's charm is that it is so convincingly true-to-life, despite the fact that little of the characters' lives (beyond the weddings themselves) are ever revealed.

The film is beautifully directed by Newell, and features consistently excellent performances in many of the supporting roles, especially Kristen Scott Thomas as Fiona, whose icy reserve lifts for just long enough to convey the pain of her unrequited love...

Funny, moving and clever, this is that rarest of discoveries: a British film which can truly rival the best that Hollywood can produce, and on half the budget.


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Screenings of this film:

1994/1995 Autumn Term (35mm)
1994/1995 Autumn Term (35mm)
1994/1995 Autumn Term (35mm)
1994/1995 Autumn Term (35mm)
1994/1995 Summer Term (35mm)
1994/1995 Summer Term (35mm)
2005/2006 Autumn Term (35mm)
2005/2006 Autumn Term (35mm)