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A carefully crafted film which is at once a celebration of English eccentricity and an understated examination of how families often do everything they can to avoid saying how they really feel. Felicity Jones and Luke Treadaway play the lead protagonists brilliantly, but the scene stealer throughout is the wonderful Ellie Kendrick as the younger sister Kitty. Her naivety often reveals so much about what everyone else is really thinking but just can't bring themselves to say. And perhaps the symbolism will be lost on some, but without giving anything away tortoises and a small boy's little bombs mark the path of this film with great effect.
Ah, the British! They have their eccentricities that have been
providing fodder for little films for years - from the great stories of
EM Forster, Evelyn Waugh, Julian Fellowes et al to the little dramadies
such as this one written by director Donald Rice with Mary
Henely-Magill, CHEERFUL WEATHER FOR THE WEDDING. They come off best
when the odd class-oriented families take themselves seriously,
covering their narrow view of the world of civility with accents so
thick and rapidly delivered that without subtitles it is difficult to
follow the script! But they are enchanting, especially when delivered
by a cast of superb actors who are able to enter these odd characters'
psyches and make us titter while we endure their snobbishness.
This film is meticulously presented and is both a celebration of English eccentricity and an understated examination of how families often do everything they can to avoid saying how they really feel. Dolly Thatcham (Felicity Jones) is to be married to the wealthy Owen (James Norton) after a very brief engagement: Dolly delays her preparations for the ceremony by drinking rum upstairs as she has flashbacks to her real romance a summer ago with the young professor Joseph Patten (Luke Treadaway) whom Dolly has invited to the wedding (to her mother's (Elizabeth McGovern) chagrin and Joseph waits downstairs with the entire bizarre family and friends awaiting Dolly's descent to proceed to the church. The story is interrupted with all manner of subplots including the strange behavior of Dolly's younger sister Kitty (Ellie Kendrick) who provides the audience with a naïveté that reveals so much about what everyone else is really thinking but just can't bring themselves to say.
Among the entertaining eccentrics having luncheon before the wedding are the bickering married couple (Fenella Woolgar and Mackenzie Crook) attempting to stop their son young Jimmy (Ben Greaves-Neil) from setting off little bombs throughout the house, aging but silly Aunt Bella (Barbara Flynn) seducing her chauffeur (Emil Lager), the perennial old maid Miss Spoon (Joanna Hole), the day's drunk Tom (Olly Alexander) and of course the only people about whom we care - the servants (Eva Traynor, Paola Dionisotti, Sophie Stanton, Kenneth Collard. The use of flashbacks to give us insight into Dolly's dilemma of marrying for convenience instead of for love is beautifully handled by creating a golden glow touch to the sequences from the past by cinematographer John Lee and a lovely musical score by Michael Price. And in a final farewell speech Joseph manages to put everything in its rightful place. It all works well, but put on the subtitles or you'll be in the dark.
Dolly (Felicity Jones) is in her wedding gown, upstairs at her British mansion, in thought. Waiting on the first floor, where the ceremony will take place, is her fiancé, Owen (James Norton) and assorted guests. However, also in the crowd, is Felicity's former flame, Joseph (Luke Treadaway), whom she alone has invited. Last summer, just a few short months ago, they were in the throws of a "hot affair". Yet, things have cooled, as Joseph took off for Greece. Therefore, just why did Dolly invited Joe? Was it because she was uncertain whether she should marry Owen, in a hastily arranged nuptials, without seeing Joseph again? Her domineering mother, Hettie (Elizabeth McGovern) was hoping for a day without problems or hitches. Sister Kitty was just hoping to meet eligible young men. Now, will the wedding take place? This sad, very British stiff-upper-lip story, is one of the bleakest studies of love and marriage there could ever be. Its true, passions do go hot and cold and marriage is supposed to be forever, especially during the thirties when this tale takes place. One indeed must choose wisely but to secure that decision on ones own all important day is tragic indeed, especially for those left out. Aside from this, though, the film does have some funny moments and is gorgeous to view, with elaborate sets, costumes, and art direction. The cast, too, very large, with characters written for both upstairs and downstairs, is quite fine. If you adore well made films, are an Anglophile, like romantic dramas, or have a yen for Merchant-Ivory type pieces, this is the newest recommendation for you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I found this one on Netflix streaming movies. I was curious about it
because one of the stars is Elizabeth McGovern who also stars in the
very popular "Downton Abbey" series.
While I enjoyed it mildly overall, it is an easily forgettable movie.
Set in 1932 England, the opening sequence, of an old-fashioned press being set up to print invitations in gold lettering, is very interesting. Felicity Jones is Dolly Thatcham, and it is her wedding day. She is marrying a very nice man.
But Luke Treadaway as Joseph Patten shows up as a guest, and this has an upsetting effect on Dolly. It seems she doesn't want to come out of her room, and she "relaxes" by drinking rum from the bottle. Seemingly too much rum.
All of this is mysterious to us, the audience, but reasons are slowly revealed. They use the technique of parallel flashbacks, we see one or the other in a present (1932) scene, then in a somewhat older scene. They keep them obvious by using a slight blue cast for the present scenes and a slight yellow cast for the flashback scenes.
We slowly find that the issue is the love affair Dolly and Joseph had, when he decided he needed to travel abroad for an extended period. A young British woman in the 1930s could not wait too long, and she found a new man, and now she was marrying him.
So it is basically a story of love lost and moving on with one's life.
Elizabeth McGovern is Mrs. Thatcham , Dolly's mother, with her best fake British accent. I've always liked McGovern, but it seems a curious choice, given that it is not a major role and there are so many fine British actresses.
I'm not sure it's essential, but a love of all things English is surely
an asset when approaching this movie. Peopled by a menagerie of
eccentric, frustrating, and ultimately endearing characters, the
movie's appeal lies in the brilliance of its script and the interest it
ultimately engenders in its many protagonists.
Set in a stately country home in perhaps the 1930s, the movie covers the events of one morning and afternoon. Dolly is about to wed Owen, yet Joseph turns up the morning of the wedding. We find that there had been a whirlwind romance between Joseph and Dolly the previous summer, that Dolly's mother was against the match, and now Joseph returns at the 11th hour to perhaps intervene?
There are far too many supporting characters to mention, and they are essential to the movie's success, but the emotional focus is entirely on Dolly and Joseph. The story of their past romance is artfully narrated in a series of flashbacks (the colour palette changes each time we flash back) which interweave nicely with the events of the wedding day. The emotion between them is portrayed with sensitivity and realism; their interactions with those around them (who are mostly oblivious to what is going on) are often funny but also laced with pathos. The various zany antics that set the backdrop for this drama are hilarious in themselves, and there is a nice blend of humour and gravity to keep one attentive. The house, the gardens, the fashions are all splendid.
What the movie lacks is some greater theme or message; it's about a particular love story between a particular man and woman, but beyond that, one doesn't leave with anything more substantial. Nonetheless, it's a pleasure to watch.
If you like English culture, if you enjoy scintillating, witty repartee, then "Cheerful Weather" is sure to please. If you find the English upper crust snobby and boring, well, you might be better off staying away.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding is a gloomy tale about a pair of crazy
kids in love who just cannot get their sh*t together. This short story
takes place the day of Felicity Jones's wedding. She is anxious about
the choices she has made and is trying to figure out if this is what
she wants, or if she has the gall to go through with something she
doesn't want. Luke Treadaway is her former lover whom she invited to
her wedding (to torment? to run away with? to confess her love to him
before it's too late? That part wasn't really clear) and as he waits
for the fateful hour where she will no longer be his, he grows
increasingly anxious to talk to her. (to torment her? to run away with
her? to confess his undying love to her? Also not sure why he showed up
or what he wanted to say.)
The two former lovers barely interact and you only discover that they were once in love by how frigid they become when the other's name is mentioned, or by the flashbacks that show how close they were several months ago. (Or in Felicity's case how strongly she tries to avoid him.)
The costumes are pretty enough and the characters are well developed, but what this tale lacks is emotion. And it's not the story's fault. The plot line is designed to keep you thinking and rooting for a specific outcome but it's the acting that fails to sell you this romance. There is no genuine chemistry between any two actors at all in this film and it takes it's toll. In the end instead of being broken hearted or happy for the characters you kind of just wished someone slapped them and told them how they could have solved their "Problems." Luke Treadaway's character elicits the least amount of sympathy from the viewer, as it seems that he is the author of his own misfortunes.
All of that notwithstanding, it's still a pretty good movie. Worth one viewing so that you can decide for yourself. 6/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I really enjoyed this movie. I hadn't heard of it until I came across
it on demand tonight. Anything with "wedding" in the title catches my
eye. The movie takes place on Dolly's wedding day in winter. She is
torn between her fiancé of 2 months, and her friend turned lover that
she spent an exciting summer with. Dolly spends the first half of the
movie in her bedroom getting ready, where many different characters
visit her and you learn about her relationship with each of them. From
quirky family members, an opinionated mother, to funny cousins and a
loving sister they all fit together well.
I loved all the characters and how they developed through others conversations. My favorite part was the flashbacks of the summer that Dolly and Joseph shared together, it was so innocent and light. Kitty (Dolly's sister)supported all the characters and she lightened the more serious conversations.
I thought the character development was strong, and there was a balance of strange, goofy and entertaining family members. Even though you only learn a little about each wedding guest and couple, you get a sense how each relationship is different.
I absolutely loved the setting (the entire movie takes place at Dolly's home) and of course the wardrobe of the 1930's. Dolly's wedding dress was stunning.
I highly recommend this movie.
Just before I sat down to watch this movie I had painted a floor.
Watching that dry would have been more interesting. I continued to
watch as an exercise in masochism.
Maybe because I find the lead actress very unpleasant. She drank way to much and pretty much continuously. Never did really get who all the other people were, yes, a sister and a mother. Was the vicar the father? An annoying missionary guest. Assorted friends? Relatives?
My two stars go to the person(s) responsible for the selection of the house, the costumer, the overall period look which is achieved very nicely, including hairdos.
The viewer certainly understands the main points of the story. They don't have to be re-told over and over again, in flashbacks and from different characters. If these were real people I would not wish any of them well.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A British period piece with romance, family relationships, a wedding, Elizabeth McGovern. What could possibly go wrong? Just about everything. Perhaps there was a Part 1 out there somewhere that I missed. It certainly would have established who these characters were, exactly who was related to whom, and why they specifically were at the middling country estate on the wedding day of a miserable bride to be. That the bride had a mother (McGovern) and a sister of younger but indecipherable age was clear. That a miserable mope named Joseph was not totally welcome, yet given the run of the house was established. That Joseph and Dolly, the bride to be of some other fellow, had a passionate,fun-filled past was established. Beyond that was a cast of characters -relatives? friends? neighbors? servants - of no purpose other than some feeble comic relief involving confetti explosions and pratfalls; or wiser-than-the-main-characters insights into what was up between Dolly and Joseph. Flashbacks showed how right-for-each-other were Dolly and Joseph. Now she was marrying another, had invited Joseph to the wedding, wouldn't see him, pined for him in the flashbacks, married the other guy anyway, and left with him for South America without the tortoise given to her by Joseph, which the cad of a husband wouldn't let her take along. Meanwhile Joseph wanders around the house, doesn't attend the wedding ceremony, pines for Dolly in flashbacks, can't get up the gumption to stop the wedding, and finally becomes upset enough, when it's too late, to spill the dramatic revelation that Dolly is pregnant. The weeping by the onlookers to this revelation was so stagy as to be more comic than the confetti bombs. All in all truly a badly conceived and directed effort.
Because of the presence of Elizabeth McGovern and other similar traits
of an early 20th century English estate family, this movie felt like a
failed script for the TV program Downton Abbey. There was no particular
compelling reason for this story to be greenlit in the manner it was
produced except to take advantage of this similarity.
It's nice to see the subtle anti-romance character traits of the two leads play out over the narrative, but it's more curiously interesting than it is intensely interesting. The sophomoric foreshadowing and symbolism feel extremely contrived and almost insulting. The scenes that should be amusing are not amusing. The cleverish storytelling isn't clever enough to make you want to care about anyone or what happens to them. And the big reveal isn't at all revelatory, but serves more as a device to unlock the grand mystery of why these people behave the way they do. Sad to say, the mystery isn't all that grand and the viewer is left with the bad taste of being inexpertly manipulated.
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