Sunday, December 9, 2012

Movie with Abe: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding
Directed by Donald Rice
Released December 7, 2012

“Downton Abbey” fans, eat your heart out. It’s hard not to compare this new film to the popular British miniseries that’s currently insanely popular with American audiences. As Dolly (Felicity Jones) prepares for her wedding and avoids her increasing number of houseguests, she fondly remembers her romantic summer spent with Joseph (Luke Treadway), who happens to have come to attend the wedding. Think of it like “Downton Abbey” in ninety minutes without much of a focus on the estate’s staff, with Elizabeth McGovern here too playing the matriarch of the family, albeit in a far harsher role, much like that of Maggie Smith’s mother-in-law on the show.

Despite its similar aspects, “Cheerful Weather for the Wedding” deserves to be taken as its own production, a classic example of British period cinema, setting all of its action over the course of one day while offering flashbacks to fill in the relevant history of the characters. Its 1932 setting is quickly established with luscious backgrounds and colors, complete with makeup and hairstyles to truly set the mood. Dolly’s recollections of her summer with Joseph are filmed with a loving, nostalgic eye, and it’s easy to comprehend why Dolly can’t concentrate on the man she’s marrying on her big day.

In the lead roles, Jones and Treadway deliver commendably, creating idealized personalities, young people clearly in love and enchanted by the magic of their surroundings and circumstances, ultimately undone by inconvenient timing. Zoe Tapper steals her scenes as the troublesome Evelyn, and McGovern is forceful, cruel, and intimidating as the disapproving mother not remotely pleased by Joseph’s presence and her daughter’s failure to act as expected. This visit to an occasion that should be festive is brief and fleeting, yet, while it lasts, it’s enthralling to be swept up in the lavishness of its world.


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