For me Richard Curtis’ Four Weddings and a Funeral was the first time I thought to myself and recognised that there was a British film industry that could make great films. There were lots of films that echoed the success of Four Weddings, but though good in their own right, for me none compare to Four Weddings.
I think one of the reasons I like Four Weddings is that back in the early 1990s when the film was released I seemed to be attending a lot of weddings (and sadly a fair few funerals too). Some of the weddings I went to did seem very familiar to the weddings in the film. Similar experiences and characters.
If you have seen the film, you will probably remember the first wedding where the Hugh Grant character, Charles, and Charlotte Coleman’s Scarlet wake up late and speed down the motorway to get to the wedding in an underpowered mini. I remember going to one wedding, driving a Talbot Samba up to Rochdale. I wasn’t like the Hugh Grant character, I did set off in plenty of time, but what I hadn’t anticipated was traffic problems on the M6, just by Manchester, so there followed a frantic drive cross country, road atlas on my knees. Roaring into the car park by the church, running into the church and nearly knocking the bride over… Back in those days things were different. Today I have traffic reports sent to my phone and TomTom satnav not only helps me to get to my destination, but also gives me an expected time of arrival. How things have changed. Drinking in the hotel on the evening of that wedding was also reminiscent of some of the scenes in the film too.
I went to another film near Durham and the evening dancing was akin to the Scottish dancing scene at the third wedding. Lots of drunken people flinging themselves around the dance floor to fast folk music.
This was also the film that launched Hugh Grant’s career, not too many films he has made were as good as Four Weddings, even if he often seemed to play the same character as Charles. Charlotte Coleman was excellent as the dizzy Scarlet, what a shock when she died in 2001 at just 33.
Simon Callow played the loud Gareth with aplomb and enthusiasm. I did feel, as did a lot of critics, the weakest performance in the film was by Andie MacDowell as the American love interest.
I can still watch and enjoy this film many years later, and as well as enjoying the film it reminds me of those weddings I attended back then.