Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sunday Summary

This week, I have mostly been...

Reminiscing | on Four Weddings...

Four Weddings and a Funeral was released... TWENTY YEARS AGO.

That is right.

Two whole decades have slipped by in the time we've taken to recover from those 15 weeks spent at the mercy of Love is All Around.


At the time the film was out I was a lank-haired, spotty, bespectacled 15-year-old, albeit one enjoying the heady freedom that came after sitting GCSEs.

Look upon my 15-year-old self and be bemused, friends:

I saw the film at least three times at the cinema and it truly was the most hilarious thing my friends and I had seen, at that time.

Hugh Grant was still a cute, posh, bumbling romantic back then (pre-*cough* Divine Brown *cough*) and we crushed on him for a while in the aftermath. (Or was that just me? Don't worry, I recovered. At least until About a Boy and Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason and then I had to wean myself off him again...)

It was hilarious that Fiona only ever wore black.

It was hilarious that Scarlett rocked this look as a bridesmaid:

{Screengrab from DVD}

It was also very cute hearing her explain 'bonking' to a young bridesmaid.

It was hilarious that Rowan Atkinson's trainee priest Gerald couldn't pronounce 'St John'. Sijjun... Sijjun... 

{In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spigot...}

And even now I can't go to a wedding and keep a straight face whenever the 1 Corinthians 13 reading is given:
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
Good point. I also anticipate the reading to be followed directly by a folk duet murdering Can't Smile Without You...

Anyway. I digress. In honour of this dubious anniversary I decided to revisit 4WAAF. These days I tend to emit a wry knowing smile at the moments above, rather than a 15-year-old's guffaw of naive laughter.

But over the last twenty years, and maybe in the last two of those years in fact the film has taken on new resonance.

It's flawed -- of course it is. For one thing it plays up to the myth of British film identity that we Brits are all very well off and very posh (and all Caucasian for that matter...) and we all live in grand houses and can afford to marry in cathedrals and invite the mayor along.

For another thing, the more I watch the more it seems Carrie's dialogue was not written for an American actress -- some phrases cloy a little. Or maybe that's just the fault of A MacD's static delivery. (Miaow.)

But, that aside...

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Gareth's funeral is The Very, Very Sad Part. But only now can I appreciate that it is handled with great empathy not just towards Gareth, but towards Matthew, even if the vicar at the funeral refers to him only as 'Gareth's closest friend' -- even in 'progressive' 1994 acknowledging Matthew directly as Gareth's partner or lover seems to have been a step too far...

{The adorable John Hannah., making grown men and women everywhere cry...}

It also occurred to me watching the film yesterday that while I labour under the potential misconception that most wedding films portray a bride (and often groom) in the flushes of 'youth' in their 20s, as if this is the prime time in which to conjugate, Charles, Carrie, Fiona, Matthew, Tom, and certainly Gareth, are all in, or past their 30s. 

Actually, their ages are never referenced, but I'm going on the ages of the actors at the time: John Hannah was 32, Hugh Grant and Kristin Scott Thomas were 34, Andie MacDowell was 36, James Fleet as the ever-hopeful dolt Tom was 40 (all according to IMDb anyway!).

And while the focus of the film is Charles' reluctance to commit to marriage until he meets Carrie, neither he, nor Carrie, nor Fiona or Tom for that matter, are shown to be excessively pressured into marriage because they're a certain age. It's irrelevant. What's shown to matter is that this group of friends are looking for that one true love.

And that for me, now, twenty years on, is refreshing.

I will never, however, favour Carrie for Charles over Fiona. C'mon. She's insipid. She's ruthless. She's a tease. I'm Team Fifi all the way. This fleeting moment of vulnerability after Fiona admits her love for Charles? Just... g'argh. So many feels, as the young folk say.

(Never let it be said that I can't overanalyse a rom-com...)

Reading | two books on the go again...

I'm keeping this brief this time (for your sake, Alun!):

My commute read:

My (slightly less cerebral) bath-and-bedtime read:

Watching | George and Jason's villa and cabin on t'telly!

Yes -- at last, my friends Georgina and Jason's most excellent Chulilla villa (which only slightly rhymes, sorry, Evie!) was featured on BBC2's Escape to the Continent last week, presented by Anita Rani (who favoured G & J's property over the others -- rightfully!). And the house and grounds look terrific. If my previous photos and George's previous short feature weren't enough to tempt you (and why the heck not?), do watch the programme on BBC iPlayer here.

{Been there! Screengrab via here}
{Swum in there! Screengrab via here}
{Slept in there! Screengrab via here}

The prospecting couple also favoured the property over the others they were shown ... yet it didn't meet their exacting requirements. Hmm.

Keep up the good fight, guys, the right buyer will come along.

And now... for Stuff Found on the World Wide Web

Tracey Emin to design a Collector's Edition 'Books Are My Bag' bag

Gillian Anderson reads Katharine Hepburn's letter to Spencer Tracy (have the tissues ready)

Behold: a whole book full of photos of cute sloths

I want a go on this waterfall swing!

And finally...

Hedgehogs with funny faces

{Nuff said.}

Have good weeks, friends!

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Charles should absolutely have ended up with Fiona. Annoys me every time!