EMILY puts two English characters within the framework of a stereotypically French film, deconstructing a common sexual fantasy to explore the moment two strangers meet and attempt to fill their loneliness with each others' need.
The last summer, shown in major flashbacks, dashing archaeologist Joseph has brilliantly flirted with upper middle-class girl Dolly Thatcham, delighting her cute naughty kid brother Jimmy and even her headless younger sister Annie, yet antagonized their mother, stuck-up widow Thatcham. When bashful Dolly refused to accompany Joseph on a Greek excavation due to his commitment problems, she was afterwards sent on an Albanian holiday, met stuffy diplomat Owen and got engaged. At the wedding day, Dolly hesitated whether she was giving up on her best chance for happiness, and Joseph turned up, but the party guests and obligations kept getting in the way of actually talking it trough.Written by
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.
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