Reviewed bygradyharpVote: 8/10/10
Ah, the British! They have their eccentricities that have beenproviding fodder for little films for years - from the great stories ofEM Forster, Evelyn Waugh, Julian Fellowes et al to the little dramadiessuch as this one written by director Donald Rice with MaryHenely-Magill, CHEERFUL WEATHER FOR THE WEDDING. They come off bestwhen the odd class-oriented families take themselves seriously,covering their narrow view of the world of civility with accents sothick and rapidly delivered that without subtitles it is difficult tofollow the script! But they are enchanting, especially when deliveredby 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 ofEnglish eccentricity and an understated examination of how familiesoften 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 herpreparations for the ceremony by drinking rum upstairs as she hasflashbacks to her real romance a summer ago with the young professorJoseph Patten (Luke Treadaway) whom Dolly has invited to the wedding(to her mother's (Elizabeth McGovern) chagrin and Joseph waitsdownstairs with the entire bizarre family and friends awaiting Dolly'sdescent to proceed to the church. The story is interrupted with allmanner of subplots including the strange behavior of Dolly's youngersister Kitty (Ellie Kendrick) who provides the audience with a naïvetéthat reveals so much about what everyone else is really thinking butjust can't bring themselves to say.
Among the entertaining eccentrics having luncheon before the weddingare the bickering married couple (Fenella Woolgar and Mackenzie Crook)attempting to stop their son young Jimmy (Ben Greaves-Neil) fromsetting off little bombs throughout the house, aging but silly AuntBella (Barbara Flynn) seducing her chauffeur (Emil Lager), theperennial old maid Miss Spoon (Joanna Hole), the day's drunk Tom (OllyAlexander) and of course the only people about whom we care - theservants (Eva Traynor, Paola Dionisotti, Sophie Stanton, KennethCollard. The use of flashbacks to give us insight into Dolly's dilemmaof marrying for convenience instead of for love is beautifully handledby creating a golden glow touch to the sequences from the past bycinematographer John Lee and a lovely musical score by Michael Price.And in a final farewell speech Joseph manages to put everything in itsrightful place. It all works well, but put on the subtitles or you'llbe in the dark.
Reviewed byAmy AdlerVote: 8/10/10
Dolly (Felicity Jones) is in her wedding gown, upstairs at her Britishmansion, in thought. Waiting on the first floor, where the ceremonywill take place, is her fiancé, Owen (James Norton) and assortedguests. However, also in the crowd, is Felicity's former flame, Joseph(Luke Treadaway), whom she alone has invited. Last summer, just a fewshort months ago, they were in the throws of a "hot affair". Yet,things have cooled, as Joseph took off for Greece. Therefore, just whydid Dolly invited Joe? Was it because she was uncertain whether sheshould marry Owen, in a hastily arranged nuptials, without seeingJoseph again? Her domineering mother, Hettie (Elizabeth McGovern) washoping for a day without problems or hitches. Sister Kitty was justhoping to meet eligible young men. Now, will the wedding take place?This sad, very British stiff-upper-lip story, is one of the bleakeststudies of love and marriage there could ever be. Its true, passions dogo hot and cold and marriage is supposed to be forever, especiallyduring the thirties when this tale takes place. One indeed must choosewisely but to secure that decision on ones own all important day istragic indeed, especially for those left out. Aside from this, though,the film does have some funny moments and is gorgeous to view, withelaborate sets, costumes, and art direction. The cast, too, very large,with characters written for both upstairs and downstairs, is quitefine. If you adore well made films, are an Anglophile, like romanticdramas, or have a yen for Merchant-Ivory type pieces, this is thenewest recommendation for you.
Reviewed byDavid BogosianVote: 8/10/10
I'm not sure it's essential, but a love of all things English is surelyan asset when approaching this movie. Peopled by a menagerie ofeccentric, frustrating, and ultimately endearing characters, themovie's appeal lies in the brilliance of its script and the interest itultimately engenders in its many protagonists.
Set in a stately country home in perhaps the 1930s, the movie coversthe 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 hadbeen a whirlwind romance between Joseph and Dolly the previous summer,that Dolly's mother was against the match, and now Joseph returns atthe 11th hour to perhaps intervene?
There are far too many supporting characters to mention, and they areessential to the movie's success, but the emotional focus is entirelyon Dolly and Joseph. The story of their past romance is artfullynarrated in a series of flashbacks (the colour palette changes eachtime we flash back) which interweave nicely with the events of thewedding day. The emotion between them is portrayed with sensitivity andrealism; their interactions with those around them (who are mostlyoblivious to what is going on) are often funny but also laced withpathos. The various zany antics that set the backdrop for this dramaare hilarious in themselves, and there is a nice blend of humour andgravity to keep one attentive. The house, the gardens, the fashions areall splendid.
What the movie lacks is some greater theme or message; it's about aparticular love story between a particular man and woman, but beyondthat, one doesn't leave with anything more substantial. Nonetheless,it's a pleasure to watch.
If you like English culture, if you enjoy scintillating, wittyrepartee, then "Cheerful Weather" is sure to please. If you find theEnglish upper crust snobby and boring, well, you might be better offstaying away.
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.