Four Weddings and a Funeral

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Four Weddings and a Funeral
Four weddings poster.jpg
UK theatrical release poster
Directed by Mike Newell
Produced by Duncan Kenworthy
Written by Richard Curtis
Starring
Music by Richard Rodney Bennett
Cinematography Michael Coulter
Edited by Jon Gregory
Production
company
Distributed by Rank Film Distributors
Release dates
  • 20 January 1994 (1994-01-20) (Sundance Festival)
  • 13 May 1994 (1994-05-13) (UK)
Running time
117 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
British Sign Language
Budget £2.8 million
Box office $245.7 million[1]

Four Weddings and a Funeral is a 1994 British romantic comedy film directed by Mike Newell. It was the first of several films by screenwriter Richard Curtis to feature Hugh Grant. It was made in six weeks and cost under £3 million,[2] becoming an unexpected success and the highest-grossing British film in cinema history at the time, with worldwide box office in excess of $245.7 million, and receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.[3][4]

Plot[edit]

The film follows the adventures of a group of friends through the eyes of Charles, a good-natured but socially awkward Englishman living in London, who becomes smitten with Carrie, an American whom Charles keeps meeting at four weddings and a funeral.

The first wedding is that of Angus and Laura, at which Charles is the best man. Charles and his single friends wonder whether they will ever get married. Charles meets Carrie and spends the night with her. Carrie pretends that, now they have slept together, they will have to get married, to which Charles endeavours to respond before realising she is joking. Carrie observes that they may have missed an opportunity and then returns to America.

The second wedding is that of Bernard and Lydia, a couple who became romantically involved at the previous wedding. Charles encounters Carrie again, but she introduces him to her fiancé, Sir Hamish Banks, a wealthy politician. At the reception, Charles finds himself seated with several ex-girlfriends who relate embarrassing stories about his inability to be discreet and afterwards bumps into Henrietta, known among Charles' friends as "Duckface", with whom he had a particularly difficult relationship. Charles retreats to an empty hotel suite, seeing Carrie and Hamish leave in a taxicab, only to be trapped in a cupboard after the newlyweds stumble into the room to have sex. After Charles awkwardly exits the room, Henrietta confronts him about his habit of "serial monogamy", telling him he is afraid of letting anyone get too close to him. Charles then runs into Carrie, and they end up spending another night together.

A month later, Charles receives an invitation to Carrie's wedding. While shopping for a present, he coincidentally encounters Carrie and ends up helping her select her wedding dress. Carrie lists her more than thirty sexual partners. Charles later awkwardly tries confessing his love to her and hinting that he would like to have a relationship with her, to no avail.

The third wedding is that of Carrie and Hamish. Charles attends, depressed at the prospect of Carrie marrying Hamish. At the reception, Gareth instructs his friends to seek potential mates; Fiona's brother, Tom, stumbles through an attempt to connect with a woman until she reveals that she is the minister's wife, while Charles's flatmate, Scarlett, strikes up a conversation with an American named Chester. As Charles watches Carrie and Hamish dance, Fiona deduces his feelings about Carrie. When Charles asks why Fiona is not married, she confesses that she has loved Charles since they first met years earlier. Charles is appreciative and empathetic but does not requite her love. During the groom's toast, Gareth dies of a heart attack.

At Gareth's funeral, his partner Matthew recites the poem "Funeral Blues" by W. H. Auden, commemorating his relationship with Gareth. Charles and Tom discuss whether hoping to find your "one true love" is just a futile effort and ponder that, while their clique have always viewed themselves as proud to be single, Gareth and Matthew were a "married" couple all the while.

The fourth wedding is ten months later. Charles has decided to marry Henrietta. However, shortly before the ceremony, Carrie arrives, revealing to Charles that she and Hamish are separated. Charles has a crisis of confidence, which he reveals to his deaf brother David and Matthew. When the vicar asks whether anyone knows a reason why the couple should not marry, David, who was reading the vicar's lips, asks Charles to translate for him, and says in sign language that he suspects the groom loves someone else. The vicar asks whether Charles does love someone else, and Charles replies, "I do." Henrietta punches Charles and the wedding is halted.

Carrie visits Charles to apologise for attending the wedding. Charles confesses that, while standing at the altar, he realised that for the first time in his life he totally and utterly loved one person, "and it wasn't the person standing next to me in the veil." Charles makes a proposal of lifelong commitment without marriage to Carrie, who accepts.

Henrietta marries an officer in the Grenadier Guards; David marries his girlfriend Serena; Scarlett marries Chester; Tom marries his distant cousin Deirdre (whom he met, for the second time in 25 years, at Charles's wedding); Matthew finds a new partner; Fiona marries Prince Charles; and Charles and Carrie have a young son.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was shot mainly in London and the Home Counties, including Hampstead, Islington where the final moments take place on Highbury Terrace, Greenwich Hospital, Betchworth in Surrey, Amersham in Buckinghamshire, St Bartholomew-the-Great (wedding #4) and West Thurrock in Essex.[5] Exterior shots of guests arriving for the funeral were filmed in Thurrock, Essex overlooking the River Thames with the backdrop of the Dartford River Crossing and at stately homes in Bedfordshire (Luton Hoo for wedding two reception) and Hampshire.[6] Many of the extras were recruited by Amber Rudd (now the British Home Secretary), who is described in the credits as "Aristocracy Co-ordinator"—among those used were Lords Burlington and Woolton.[citation needed]

Music[edit]

The original score was composed by British composer Richard Rodney Bennett. The movie also featured a soundtrack of popular songs, including a cover version of The Troggs' "Love Is All Around" performed by Wet Wet Wet that remained at number 1 in the British charts for fifteen weeks and was then the ninth (now twelfth) biggest selling single of all time in Britain. This song would later be adapted into "Christmas Is All Around" and sung by the character of Billy Mack in Richard Curtis' 2003 film Love Actually, in which Grant also stars. The soundtrack also features Elton John's "Crocodile Rock", Gershwin's "But Not for Me", the song "Chapel of Love", and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive".[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The film was very well received with critics, currently holding a 95% "Certified Fresh" approval on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with the site's consensus stating, "While frothy to a fault, Four Weddings and a Funeral features irresistibly breezy humor, and winsome performances from Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell."[7] Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four, calling it "delightful and sly", and directed with "light-hearted enchantment" by Newell. He praised Grant's performance, describing it as a kind of "endearing awkwardness".[8]

The film had its detractors. Writing for the Chicago Reader, Jonathan Rosenbaum called the film "generic" and "standard issue", stating that the audience shouldn't "expect to remember it ten minutes later".[9] Time magazine writer Richard Corliss was less scathing, but agreed that it was forgettable, saying that people would "forget all about [the movie] by the time they leave the multiplex," even joking at the end of his review that he had forgotten the film's name.[10] The character of Carrie was voted one of the most annoying film characters of all time in a British online poll.[11]

Box office[edit]

The film earned £27.8 million in the United Kingdom.[12] Upon its North American limited release on 11 March 1994, Four Weddings and a Funeral opened with $138,486 in 5 theatres.[13] But upon its wide release on 15 April 1994, the film topped the box office with $4,162,489.[14] The film would continue to gross $52.7 million in North America with an additional $193 million internationally, earning $245.7 million worldwide.[1]

Accolades[edit]

Wins[edit]

BAFTA Awards[15]
Australian Film Institute[15]
  • Best Foreign Film
British Comedy Awards[15]
  • Best Comedy Film
César Awards[15]
Chicago Film Critics[15]
Evening Standard Awards[15]
Golden Globe Awards[15]
London Film Awards[15]
Writers Guild of America Award[15]
Writers' Guild of Great Britain[15]

Nominations[edit]

Academy Awards[15]
BAFTA Awards[15]
Directors Guild of America Award[15]
Golden Globe Awards[15]

Recognition[edit]

The film was voted the 27th greatest comedy film of all time by readers of Total Film in 2000. In 2004, the same magazine named it the 34th greatest British film of all time. It is number 96 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  2. ^ BBC Radio 4 – The Reunion – Four Weddings and a Funeral, 13 April 2014
  3. ^ Business Data for Four Weddings and a Funeral Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 15 February 2007.
  4. ^ Richard Curtis. Cinema.com. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  5. ^ "The Making of Four Weddings and a Funeral". Empire. June 1994. Retrieved 5 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Filming Locations for Four Weddings and a Funeral. Movie-locations.com. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  7. ^ Four Weddings and a Funeral at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^ Four Weddings And A Funeral :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  9. ^ Four Weddings and a Funeral. Chicago Reader. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  10. ^ CINEMA: Four Weddings and a Funeral: Well Groomed. Time (14 March 1994). Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  11. ^ Handy, Bruce (19 May 1999), "The Daring Genesis of J.J. Abrams's Star Wars: The Force Awakens", Vanity Fair (June 2015), retrieved 7 November 2015 
  12. ^ "Top Films of All Time at the UK Box Office" (PDF). British Film Institute. April 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016. 
  13. ^ Weekend Box Office Results for 11–13 March 1994. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  14. ^ Weekend Box Office Results for 15–17 April 1994. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n IMDb: Awards for Four Weddings and a Funeral. Retrieved 7 May 2012

External links[edit]