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!