Cheerful Weather for the Wedding – A Colorful British Comedy

August 15, 2013 Rissi JC 21 Comments

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (2012) Film Review

If not based on classic literature, about the only thing you can rely on from British comedy is a quirky production full of misunderstandings and high-class drama. ‘Wedding’ fits neatly into that box.

On what should be the happiest day of Dolly Thatcham’s life, Dolly (Felicity Jones) is hiding. While behind closed doors, memories of summer days with her former beau, Joseph (Luke Treadaway) assault her. As her mother (Elizabeth McGovern) frets below over the arrival of guests – including bridesmaid and friend, Evelyn (Zoe Tapper), meal places and guest room assignments, Dolly wallows.

Younger sister, Kitty (Ellie Kendrick) is a romantic who finds Dolly’s sulking horrible.  All turns topsy-turvy with the simultaneous arrival of both Dolly’s fiancé, and Joseph. Both stir up uncertainty, and keep Dolly holed up in her room snubbing Joseph’s request to talk. In her absence chaos reigns as the family barely makes it through a family meal, temperamental family members, and a bride who just won’t talk to anyone!

In a nutshell this is the plot outline, and is basically all there is to this script. The movie is short in run time but feels long with its slow-moving pace. Despite seeing a trailer and having a cursory eagerness to watch this indie film, for some reason I had the idea of this being a contemporary film instead of the 1930’s period satire it is. The script hides behind lost chances, really though, what it suggests and what it is, are two different things. The movie is a comedic piece of chaos.

From the arrival of wacky family members and silly shenanigans to the outwardly pointless meaning of the movie, the laughs are plenty. In fact while watching it, my mother and I made the comment that this was setting up to be the British version of the Jimmy Stewart classic, You Can’t Take it With You. Many of the comedy plays are straight from its playbook – whether it be exploding firecrackers or a wacky family meal, you will be hard pressed to find a family more alike.

To be blunt, I didn’t like this movie terribly well. Usually, I am not so pessimistic about films or books, but honestly, ‘Wedding’ doesn’t click with me. Sure, it’s interesting in its own unique way and may even be something I’ll give a second chance, but even when the story is good, it doesn’t contradict the end. Something that leaves me empty. There is nothing to inspire me or make me feel like anyone is happy. By this statement, I don’t speak of a traditional ending, and even if the ambiguous ending tries to imply a possibility other than its visual, it would still lead to misery rather than contentment.

No matter how well writers conceal Dolly’s personality as a state of nervous apprehension, not to mention drunkenness, Dolly is an unlikable character. Then there’s Joseph. No matter how much you wish to champion him as the better man, he’s kind of a spineless wimp. The only thing that “drives” this plot forward is Elizabeth McGovern’s regal, brilliant acting. Her character pretends to turn a blind eye to all around her, but is she really. There are also the flashbacks to the summer Dolly and Joseph spend together which does liven things up; too many scenes involve Dolly forlornly sitting in her room, chugging rum. It’s these happy scenes that film well; a bright contrast to the cool, “staid” tones and presence of the present. What these do is present the viewer with an alternative – or a happier time, full of picnics and stolen kisses.

Part of the reason the film is so tepid is that it’s British. Their cinema is different than our American scripts, to be sure. That being said, I just cannot quite make myself like this almost-charming movie. It has potential, but clearly, it didn’t reach for the stars. Leaving off, I can sincerely say, I like the movie for its cast and costumes, beyond that… well, there is always the weather, which was perfectly cheer- no, wait! Even that was miserable.

Those of us who can appreciate a darker, more whimsical sense of humor may find this amusing. Because I don’t like to believe there is so little point to any story, I do concede I likely miss something in translation, but darned if I know what it was!

(Parental concerns: There is one brief scene that shows some clothing removal, though the scene cuts away before anything “graphic” takes place – there is plenty of passionate kissing and it’s suggested that one character has very loose morals and is in fact pregnant with a child she doesn’t know who the father is. Elsewhere there is shameless flirting and perhaps one or two British profanities; social drinking is present. The film is rated PG.)

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Ruth A. August 15, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    I got through about half of this movie and then quit…

    • Rissi August 15, 2013 at 5:11 PM

      What was it you weren't liking about, Ruth? Just the story in general or the production? I'd be interested in getting your thoughts. :)

  • Sarah August 15, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    I recently watched and reviewed this too and I enjoyed it through an artistic viewpoint. It was beautiful and the acting was great, and I appreciated the realistic characters and that it wasn't a typical romcom. Dolly was dis-likable, but Joseph was really the central character. His side of the story resonated with me the most, and his end was actually pretty satisfying and hopeful. Well, that was my take anyway! :)

    • Rissi August 15, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      If you watch it only through an artistic lens, it wasn't a "bad" movie, Sarah, I do agree with you. Loved the cast and costumes, naturally (I am a sucker for a pretty costume drama), but as a character piece, I wasn't fond of this at all.

      Spoiler: I am not sure what the take away was meant to be – do you think the end was saying Joseph was going to finally "let go" and move on? I wasn't sure if that were it or if he was going to follow Dolly, turtle in tow! ;-) END If it was meant to be the former suggestion, I am all for that – and more power to him!

      Glad you shared your conclusions, Sarah. I enjoyed reading your comment; I'll for sure be stopping by later to read your review! (Sorry to have missed that!)

    • Sarah August 15, 2013 at 6:50 PM

      I suppose it could be took either way, but I took the former meaning. (The other didn't even enter my head until I read you review!) I think it makes the most sense that way — if Joseph was too honorable to break up the wedding, why would he change his mind and try to break them up after? I think what he really wanted was simply resolution and peace, and receiving the turtle gave it to him. It makes for a better story that way too… if I'd taken the latter meaning, I wouldn't have liked this movie much at all!

    • Rissi August 16, 2013 at 6:31 PM

      Spoiler Discussion Ahead:

      You're right, I think it could be taken/implied either way.

      That being said, I sure hope that the script wanted us to conclude that by being given back the turtle, Joseph was being "set free." That would make the film better. It was just the way it was filmed (with Mrs. Thatcham on the phone, discussing the wedding details, grinning and Joseph walking away with a half-smile) that made me question it. END

      I am definitely rooting for your version. :)

  • Kristin August 15, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    I heard about this one a couple of months ago and added it to my Netflix queue. I'll get around to watching it eventually, but most reviews I've read seem to echo what you said…that the film seems to miss the mark somehow.


    • Rissi August 15, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      Somehow I just felt it was more "empty" than meaningful, Kristin. That being said, it may be the kind of movie that just didn't resonate with me where it will others. The costumes were pretty and of course, the cast was epically good!

      Hope you enjoy the movie – let me know if you see it what you think. :)

  • Juju at Tales of August 15, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Oh sounds like a pass. I do love the costumes though.

    • Rissi August 15, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      The costumes – as usual, are stunners, Juju. And of course, it was grand to see familiar faces in the cast! I think in the end, 'Wedding' is more artistic than a good emotional character piece and if viewed through that perspective, the movie is… interesting. :)

  • Ella August 15, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Hmm…..interesting that you would review this just after I saw it in my Netflix recommended list. However, hearing your opinion, I just might wait on it!

    • Rissi August 16, 2013 at 6:32 PM

      If you watch it "artistically," I suppose it's not a bad movie. That being said, I like more from my characters in a movie, so, yeah, this won't be a favorite. :)

      If you ever do see it, Ella, let me know what you think!

  • Lydia August 15, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    I just watched this one on Netflix a few weeks ago and was sorely disappointed. The repetitive retrospectives and Dolly's melancholy grew tiring and I was just waiting for SOMETHING to happen. Joseph lacked the conviction to be championed by viewers and I can't help but thinking that Dolly got what she deserved. Wonderful review Rissi!

    • Rissi August 16, 2013 at 6:38 PM

      Yes! This was my reaction also, Lydia – I often felt like shaking Dolly to her senses! Either marry the dude and DEAL or call it off and figure out what it is YOU want! *sigh* Ideally, I could have dealt with the latter. Really, I think the movie was more comedic that it initially implies and though I did get some giggles out of it… I just couldn't get "into" it.

      I agree; it probably did end as it should. Dolly got what she deserved and Joseph, well, I never could cheer him on as I'd have liked.

      Thanks for reading! :)

  • Lizzie August 15, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    *Spoiler warning*
    For some reason, I started watching this movie with the pre-conceived notion that I would get to like Felicity Jones's character, so I was befuddled as it took the whole movie for me to accept that she was the unlikeable character. I kept thinking that Joseph had deserted her or something… So I just ended up really confused, besides not liking the ending since it's the "happily-ever-after" sort that my taste invariably tends toward. But I did enjoy the flash-backs and costumes!

    • Rissi August 16, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      Spoiler Discussion Ahead:

      Sadly, Dolly never did thaw out, did she!? I mean, I suppose in the flashbacks she was likable. The entire script was a bit befuddling. It tried to be a melodramatic period piece in some elements but really, don't you think it was more comedic in a "dark" way than anything? Or that was my impression.

      Had it ended with Dolly leaving or not marrying the dude but not going back to Joseph, I think that'd have even been a "better" alternative – if without a "happy ending." I mean… the girl *made* herself even more miserable and that in turn makes us question her sanity. In my book, that does not make a good character.

      Me, too, Lizzie! The costumes and flashbacks were pretty. They made the movie worth something, anyway. :)

  • Birdie August 16, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Ah, pity that you didn't like this one much. It has quite some potential, all the familiar faces, the time period etc. But if you get a feeling from it none of the characters are really admirable or end up happy, then I can understand it left you feeling a bit 'mwah'. The way you describe it reminds me a bit of another British, 30s era movie: Easy Virtue

    • Rissi August 16, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      …I wanted to like this, Birdie and in some ways, I suppose I didn't "hate" it since I may re-watch it at some point. There was loads of potential here (the cast was good – and I did like Elizabeth McGovern's crazy character) but the way everything plays out fell… flat. :/

      You know… this does kind of remind me of Easy Virtue only that was more outwardly humorous. :)

  • Katherine Reay August 26, 2013 at 3:07 AM

    Oh… so thrilled to read this post because all through this move I thought I must be missing something… I was sure that I was supposed to like it… but I didn't. Wonderful to read your insights, Rissi….

    • Rissi August 26, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      …and I am thrilled that it wasn't just me also, Katherine! Like you, I felt like I really wanted to like this movie and alas, nothing "clicked" for me. *sigh* Wish it had because there are good moments mixed in with the bad. At least, the cast was grand – gotta' try to find the good in a disappointing movie! :)

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