Classic British Films #3: Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Four Weddings and a Funeral is one of those films that you can just put on and not think about. That’s not to say that it is a stupid or a boring film, but it is a light-hearted film to relax and watch.

Four Weddings and a Funeral tells the story of a group of friends, all in their early thirties, who are spending more and more time at weddings. Through the lead of Charles (Hugh Grant) and the various weddings and social occasions the group attend, Charles realises he may have met the love of his life, as the characters try to discover what true love actually is.

Although Alan Rickman was the first choice to play Charles, Hugh Grant is the perfect lead for this romantic comedy, as he manages to mix humour and a vulnerability to play a character that is perhaps not too different to what he has played before. It could be said that Hugh Grant has been typecast as a typical romantic lead, but it is a role he plays so well in both an endearing and awkward way.

The film has a perfect mix of great British actors, including James Fleet, Simon Callow, John Hannah, Kristin Scott Thomas, Rowan Atkinson and Anna Chancellor. The American actress Andie MacDowell is also perfect in the role of Charles love interest, Carrie. This 1994 film was the second screenplay written by Richard Curtis, who went on to write Notting Hill and Love Actually, also staring Hugh Grant, and it is directed by Mike Newell, who went on to direct Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Four Weddings and a Funeral has been accused of being all froth and no substance, and is often described as a film which the audience will not remember after viewing due to its generic nature. Although this has been said, when released, the film received generally favourable reviews and did extremely well at the box office. At the time of its release, it became the highest grossing British film of all time, and made almost $250 million worldwide. During award season, the film was nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards, in addition to winning several BAFTA and Golden Globe awards.

Four Weddings and a Funeral could easily have been cheesier, but the script is so well written that the elements of drama in the film mix so well with the romance and comedy, to make the film hold together with a strong plot and an excellent cast. The use of a funeral amongst the weddings also grounds the film in realism.

Almost as famous as the film is the song Love is all Around by Wet Wet Wet, which was played during the credits of the film, and which remained in the number one position in the UK music charts for fifteen weeks. Many beautiful locations are also used in the film, from the various churches and stately homes used in the wedding scenes. One factor which dates this film (which is now 20 years old) is the outfits; the wedding outfits of the guests could not be more 90s!

Four Weddings and a Funeral is certainly a Classic British Film, and a throwback to the older romantic comedy films, many of which had Hugh Grant in the lead! If you haven’t seen the film, or know someone who hasn’t seen it, staying in and watching Four Weddings and a Funeral is the perfect way to spend an evening.

Read the article at firstinstinctmagazine.com

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About writingsuzanne

History graduate. Freelance writer and reviewer. Passionate about film, theatre and music (film soundtracks!).
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