If it’s not based on classic literature, I don’t always pay attention to British productions. This quirky comedy has a great cast however it’s full of foolish misunderstandings and high-class drama.
Weddings for some families are joyful. Weddings at the Thatcham house seem to bring out the worse in everyone. Mrs. Thatcham (Elizabeth McGovern) is frazzled over meal settings, room assignments and the arrival of her daughter’s former beau, Joseph (Luke Treadaway). Her younger daughter, Kitty (Ellie Kendrick) is caught in the middle of the wedding drama. The Bride, Dolly (Felicity Jones), has hidden herself away in her room, letting memories of summer days long past with Joseph wash over her. This should be the happiest day of her life and instead the only person Dolly seems inclined to talk with is bridesmaid and friend Evelyn (Zoe Tapper).With the chaos just below her, Dolly is left to her wallowing and her romantic sisters complaints over Dolly’s selfishness.
All turns topsy-turvy with the sudden arrival of Dolly’s fiancé and Joseph’s attempts to speak with Dolly who keeps rebuffing his requests. Dolly stays holed up in her room, as chaos reigns while the family barely makes it through a family meal, temperamental family members sparking arguments and a bride who just won’t talk to anyone!
This is a “stiff” British comedy that is silly and, I’m sorry to say, boring. The movie has a short in running time yet feels longer with its slow moving pacing. It's a 1930's satire. The script hides behind dark emotions and chances lost, but really, that's not what the story is – it’s a comedic piece of chaos. From wacky family members arriving amid already silly shenanigans to the outwardly pointless meaning in the movie, the laughs are plenty, but I never really "got it." Sure, it's interesting in its own unique way but it left me empty. There was nothing that inspired me or made me feel like anyone was happy. The film is deliberately ambiguous in its ending but the slight implication is that further misery awaits them. It doesn't help that so few characters are likable -- Dolly is insipid and Joseph is a spineless wimp.
What did work for me was Elizabeth McGovern’s regal acting. Her character pretends to turn a blind eye all to all around her, yet she knows more than anyone realizes. There's also lashbacks to the summer Dolly and Joseph spent together which serves to liven things up and contrasts the “cool,” darker tones of the present -- especially since too many scenes involve Dolly forlornly sitting in her room chugging rum. Those of us who can appreciate a darker, more whimsical sense of humor may not mind the tone but for me, it never hit the mark. Lost potential and some pretty costuming can't make up for a lifeless script, which means this was a bit of a shamble.
Brief scenes show two young lovers removing clothing (the camera cuts away before things go very far), as well as some passionate kissing. It’s implied one character is “loose” and is pregnant out-of-wedlock with a child whose father she is unsure of. There is some flirting.
One or two British profanities or slang expressions.
There is some social drinking and while at a family get-together, various characters get drunk.