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Movie review: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding

By Peter Calder

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Elizabeth McGovern and Felicity Jones in Cheerful Weather for the Wedding.
Elizabeth McGovern and Felicity Jones in Cheerful Weather for the Wedding.

Fans of Downton Abbey will be drawn to this debut feature by the son of the uber-lyricist Tim Rice, though it is much more upstairs than downstairs and lacks the sometimes contrived precision of the television series.

The title's wedding is of Dolly (Jones) to Owen (Norton) and the film's single gaping flaw is that we never have the faintest idea why she would get hitched to such a desiccated bore, since there is no evidence of chemistry or social pressure.

Certainly she's none too keen on the nuptials: as the guests assemble, she's locked herself in her room and is getting stuck into the gin. And matters get decidedly stickier when an unexpected guest (Treadaway) arrives, whose significance is gradually made clear through a series of flashbacks.

It's a terribly English story of repressed emotion, though it's romantic drama lite, quite without the tragic grandeur of the genre's benchmark Remains of the Day.

McGovern, as Dolly's widowed mother, desperate for everything to just be proper, evokes her type very well (her delivery, late in the film, of the line that gives the film its title, has a terrifying bleakness about it) and The Office's Crook puts in an amusing appearance as a stuffed shirt.

The director of photography, also making his feature debut, goes for a dimness that is probably very realistic but is also rather dreary. He's doubtless trying to emphasise the contrast with the sunlit flashbacks but he rather overdoes it. A running gag involving a young lad and pyrotechnics outstays its welcome, too.

But the film, if never more than pleasant and conventional, will satisfy those hanging out for Downton's third season.

Cast: Elizabeth McGovern, Felicity Jones, Luke Treadaway, James Norton, Mackenzie Crook
Director: Donald Rice
Running time: 92 mins
Rating: PG adult themes
Verdict: Very English tale of repressed emotion
3.5 stars

- NZ Herald

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