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"Four Weddings and a Funeral" {Blu-ray}
Daniel Ruwe
Studio: MGM/Fox
Release Date:
July 5, 2011
Special Features:

See Below


Hugh Grant is a interesting actor, in spite of—or because of—the fact that he is so hard to pin down. His characters are devastatingly handsome but terribly lonely, funny and charming but somehow also exceedingly awkward, and popular and loved yet capable of horribly selfish acts. His characters are masses of contradictions, but Grant makes them work. ****

Grant is perfectly cast in Four Weddings and a Funeral, and it is his performance as Charles that is responsible in large part for the movie’s success. Charles is awkwardly charming in a very English way. No American actor could pull off his brand of charm but somehow it seems to come naturally to Britons. It must have something to do with the accent. ****

Charles (he doesn’t appear to have a job, or a last name) seems to spend most of his time at weddings with his group of friends, all of whom apparently get invited to the same weddings. Charles, and all his friends, is single, and they are all worried they won’t find anyone. ****

Charles meets Carrie (Andie McDowell), an American, at wedding one of four. He falls for her. They sleep together. He meets her again at wedding number two. This time he meets her fiancé too. He still falls for her. They sleep together again. Wedding number three? Carrie’s wedding. Wedding number four? It’s Charles’. ***

Grant’s plays Charles’ love for Carrie perfectly. He is painfully in love but unable to express his feelings, both because he is English and because Carrie loves Hamish (Colin Redgrave), or does she? Charles loves Carrie, he knows she’s the one—but try as he might, he can’t tell her that, and he hates that fact. ****

According to writer Richard Curtiss (known for Blackadder and Mr. Bean), the script was written after he realized he had attended 72 weddings over ten years. That’s about seven a year, which would probably see me through about five or six years. Curtiss’ weddings are more eventful than the typical wedding, and more heavier on castles than your typical event, but he does capture the rush of emotions. ***

One time I walked into a wedding thirty seconds before the bride’s father walked her down the aisle. I got pulled down a flight of stairs by some lady who was evidently in charge, and found the bride and the bridesmaids and her father at the bottom. I saw all that father’s emotions in Four Weddings and a Funeral; pride, nostalgia, anxiety, happiness. The weddings in the movie feel like weddings. ***

Charles’ friends are maybe the best part of the movie. They’re wonderful comic creations who seem to have wandered out of a P.G Wodehouse story, or maybe an Evelyn Waugh novel. Maybe the best one is Scarlett (Charlotte Coleman), Charles’ fiery haired flatmate. Or maybe it is Gareth (Simon Callow), a “very fat and very rude” gay man, the life and soul of Charle’ little clique, and also its moral center. They’re all wonderfully quotable—Scarlett explains the different between table tennis and sex to a child; Gareth expounds his theory on why couples marry. ***

The movie isn’t just about four weddings; there’s also the funeral, one of the movie funerals I’ve seen. W.H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues” is recited, and that scene has become well-known, but for my money an better display of pathos comes when the mourners are carrying the coffin. An unsightly red brick factory sits smoking in the background, in stark contrast to the picturesque country churches and Scottish castles the movie has showed us thus far. The factory is a potent image indicating the pain the characters are suffering. ***

Charles’ wedding is a long scene, and a funny one. (Also, unfortunately, predictable). Like most romantic comedies, the slightly disappointing ending emphasizes the romantic angle over the comedy, which leads to an underwhelming ending.***

Weak ending or not, director Mike Newell and writer Richard Curtiss fashioned a really remarkable romantic comedy in Four Weddings and a Funeral, and the movie has aged well. ***

Audio/Video Quality:

This movie didn’t look great to start with, so there isn’t a whole lot to work with here. The Blu-Ray doesn’t look bad, but there isn’t really an urgent need to have this movie on Blu-Ray. Not that the movie looks bad—there is a pleasing amount of fine detail, and the color and saturation are good—but it doesn’t look as spectacular as some Blu-Ray releases either. ****

The sound is okay, but in a dialogue heavy romantic comedy there isn’t much opportunity for surround sound to work its magic.

Special Features:

There is a decent amount of special features here. There’s a nice commentary track by director Mike Newell, producer Duncan Kenworthy, and writer Richard Curtiss, and a “making of” feature. There are a few more featurettes, which good but not great. And of course there are the usual deleted scenes and trailers.

Final Words:

Four Weddings and a Funeral is a delightful romantic comedy. It’s more than worth watching for anyone who likes romance, comedy, romantic comedy, or Hugh Grant. There isn’t a star system on this site, but if there was, this would be a four star movie


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