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Four Weddings and a Funeral is a 1994 Britishmarker romantic comedy film directed by Mike Newell. It was the first of several films by screenwriter Richard Curtis to feature Hugh Grant. The film was an unexpected success, becoming the highest-grossing British film in cinema history at the time, with worldwide box office in excess of $244 million, and receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

Synopsis

The film follows the adventures of a group of friends through the eyes of Charles, a debonair but faux pas-prone Englishman, played by Grant, who is smitten by Carrie, an attractive American played by Andie MacDowell, whom Charles repeatedly meets at weddings and at a funeral.

The first wedding is that of Angus and Laura (Timothy Walker and Sara Crowe). Charles and his collection of single friends are concerned that they will never get married. At this wedding, Charles meets Carrie for the first time and spends the night with her, but he regards it as a one-night stand. Carrie teases him by pretending that now they have slept together, they will also have to get married, which Charles endeavors to respond to before realizing she is joking. She then goes back home to America, observing that they may have missed an opportunity.

The second wedding is that of Bernard and Lydia (David Haig and Sophie Thompson), a couple who got together at the previous wedding. This sequence features Rowan Atkinson in a small role as an inexperienced priest. The reception is not an enjoyable one for Charles. First, he encounters Carrie, who subsequently introduces Charles to her fiancé, Sir Hamish Banks, a wealthy politician from Scotland. Next, Charles finds himself seated at a table with several ex-girlfriends, as well as bumping into Henrietta (known among Charles' friends as "Duckface"), with whom he had a difficult relationship in the past. As the evening wears on, Charles inadvertently finds himself in Bernard and Lydia's hotel suite and is forced to hide in a wardrobe after the newlyweds suddenly stumble into the room and engage in a sexual romp on the bed. Believing that Carrie has left the reception with Hamish, Charles later runs into her (without her fiance), shortly after another emotional encounter with Henrietta. Charles and Carrie end up spending the night together.

During the interim period, Charles receives an invitation to Carrie's wedding in Scotland; while shopping for a present in London accidentally bumps into her in a shop and ends up helping select her wedding dress. Carrie also astonishes him with a list of more than thirty sexual partners (he learns he is Number 32). He later tries to confess his love to her and hints that if her marriage is unsuccessful, he would like to have a relationship with her. However, he says it rather lamely, and the confession obviously comes too late.

The third wedding is that of Carrie and Hamish at a Scottish castle. Charles attends, depressed at the prospect of Carrie marrying Hamish. As the reception gets under way, Gareth (Simon Callow) instructs his friends to go forth and seek potential mates; Fiona's brother, Tom (James Fleet), stumbles through an attempt to connect with the minister's wife, while Charles' flatmate, Scarlett (Charlotte Coleman), strikes up a conversation with a tall, attractive American. As Charles watches Carrie and Hamish dance as husband and wife, he reveals his feelings about Carrie to his friend Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas), who is crestfallen and confesses that she has always loved Charles since they first met years ago. Charles is surprised and empathetic, but does not requite her love. At the wedding Matthew's lover Gareth dies suddenly of a heart attack: Matthew (John Hannah in one of his first screen roles), is called but does not reach him before he dies.

The funeral is that of Gareth. At the funeral, Matthew recites the poem Funeral Blues ("Stop all the clocks...") by W. H. Auden, commemorating his relationship with Gareth. After the funeral, Charles and Tom have a discussion about whether finding that one true love is just a futile effort, and speculate that perhaps Gareth and Matthew were the only real "married" couple within their group.

The fourth wedding is that of Charles, who has decided to marry Henrietta out of desperation. However, prior to the ceremony, Carrie arrives and reveals to Charles that she and Hamish are no longer together. At the altar, when the vicar asks if anyone knows a reason why the couple should not marry, Charles's deaf brother David (David Bower) uses sign language to announce that Charles doesn't love Henrietta. Henrietta punches Charles and the wedding is abruptly halted.

At the end, Carrie visits Charles, who is recovering from the debacle, to apologize for attending. Charles confesses that he has finally realized the person he would like to spend his life with is not the woman he was about to marry. He doesn't want to get married at all, but he does want Carrie to be his partner. The couple then vow that they will never, ever, marry.

The end credits include a montage of photographs documenting the futures of other characters in the film. All are shown on their individual wedding days (and Matthew finding love with a new partner), except for Fiona, who is shown (satirically) with Prince Charles. The happily-unmarried Carrie and Charles are pictured with their baby boy.

Principal cast



Production

Despite appearing to be set all over the UK, the film was entirely shot in London and the Home Counties. They include Hampsteadmarker, Betchworthmarker in Surreymarker, Amershammarker in Buckinghamshire, St Bartholomew-the-Greatmarker (wedding #4) and West Thurrockmarker in Essex. Even the scenes set in Scotland were filmed at stately homes in Bedfordshire (Luton Hoomarker) and Hampshire.

Awards and recognition

Award wins



Award nominations



Recognition

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".

Soundtrack

The original score was composed by British classical 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.

See also



References

  1. Business Data for Four Weddings and a Funeral Internet Movie Database, accessed February 15, 2007.
  2. http://www.cinema.com/people/005/985/richard-curtis/index.phtml
  3. [1] BBC website, Q&A with a 'Four Weddings' actor, accessed May 18, 2008. Simon Callow makes explicit reference to the fact that his character was gay.
  4. [2] John Hannah Unofficial Website , accessed May 18, 2008. Interview from: The Inspector's Call by Gareth McLean The Scotsman, April 17, 2000 "I hope I convinced people within the industry that I was more than just fortunate to get the part of Matthew. I did a mini-series after that, Faith, which was a success and Madagascar Skin, a low-budget film which I loved but unfortunately got stuck with this arthouse label. Then, people questioned my reason for playing another gay character [...] but I thought that was ridiculous" Referencing to the fact that the character of Matthew was gay.
  5. Filming Locations for Four Weddings and a Funeral


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