Released in 1994, director Mike Newell’s Four Weddings and a Funeral became an international hit, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Picture and turning Hugh Grant (Florence Foster Jenkins) into a star. A hilarious look at love and friendship, it’s the kind of film most audience members can relate to in one way or another.
Grant stars as Charles, a forty-something Londoner who moves from girlfriend to girlfriend without ever falling in love. His friends have begun to marry, but Charles hasn’t even considered the possibility. Things change when he meets Carrie (Andie MacDowell, The Player), an American fashion editor. Though the two enjoy a brief tryst at an inn, Charles’ British reserve kicks in, and Carrie is on her way back to America before he realizes he should have told her how he felt.
True to its title, the film features four weddings and a funeral. While the central can be found in many romantic comedies, it’s framed by a plot filled with small twists and turns, lots of laughs, and a bubbly, invigorating atmosphere. Director Mike Newell shows a real gift for guiding escapist fun. He allows his actors, as well as the script to carry the film. The result is a lighthearted, intelligent comedy with moments of sadness (including an emotional reading of W.H. Auden).
Screenwriter Richard Curtis wastes little time getting the humor started, and once it starts, it doesn’t stop until the credits roll. The biggest laughs occur during the second wedding and center on Rowan Atkinson (Johnny English Strikes Again) as a somewhat confused priest. Of course, Atkinson is familiar with Curtis style; they collaborated on the British TV show Blackadder.
Hugh Grant, excellent here, pretty much established the type of character he would play repeatedly for the next twenty years—likeable if occasionally befuddled. It truly is perfect casting, as there’s no scene, whether comic or serious, that Grant is incapable of doing well. Andie MacDowell, playing opposite Grant, is a surprising choice, but she acquits herself well. The supporting cast features several familiar British faces, including a high-spirited Simon Callow (James and the Giant Peach).
Four Weddings and a Funeral is a modern comedy that effectively blends laughter and tears. Highly recommended.
Presented in its original 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio, Four Weddings and a Funeral has been given a new 1080p transfer struck from a 4K scan of the original camera negative. Needless to say, the movie has never looked better. Detail is sharp throughout, showing minute facial features and every wrinkle and crease in clothing. A fine layer of film grain has been retained, giving the proceedings a natural appearance. Colors are pleasing. There are a few minor specks of dust throughout, but nothing that interferes with the overall viewing experience.
The English DTS-HD MA 5.1 track appears to be the same one on the 2011 Blu-ray release. Decidedly front focused, that works for this dialogue driven film. At the weddings and enroute, the rear effects speakers come to life, but for the most part ambient sounds aren´t much of a presence.
English SDH subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Audio Commentary with Director Mike Newell, Producer Duncan Kenworthy and Writer/Co-Producer Richard Curtis: This commentary has appeared on previous home video releases of the film.
- The Wedding Photographer (HD, 26:31) In this new interview, Director of Photography Michael Coulter discusses his work on the film.
- The Wedding Planners (SD, 29:48) In this featurette filmed for a previous DVD release, director Mike Newell and other member of the creative team discuss various aspects of the production process.
- Four Weddings and a Funeral…In the Making (SD, 7:45) Previously released, this short featurette contains cast and crew interviews, and some filming footage.
- Two Actors and a Director (SD, 5:33) Newell hired Andie MacDowell because she was “available, gorgeous and American” and the film was two weeks out before production was slated to begin. Hugh Grant is also interviewed. This was previously released.
- Deleted Scenes (SD, 9:58) While they wouldn’t have added anything to the finished film, there’s some funny stuff here.
- Promotional Spots (SD, 3:27)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:08)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Movie title: Four Weddings and a Funeral
Director(s): Mike Newell
Actor(s): Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, James Fleet , Simon Callow , John Hannah , Kristin Scott Thomas
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama