Cheerful Weather for the Wedding


…or the divorce…

Main Cast: Elizabeth McGovern, Felicity Jones

Director: Donald Rice

I haven’t watched Season 3 of Downton Abbey yet, so maybe I was preparing myself when I put Cheerful Weather for the Wedding on my Netflix queue.  The presence of Elizabeth McGovern certainly adds weight to my theory – and I can’t imagine how else it would have ended up there.

We enter the story as Dolly Thatcham (Felicity Jones) is getting ready for her wedding.  She’s a somber, sour looking bride, despite being quite physically cute.  It is 1930’s England and she’s very slowly getting herself dressed and prepared to wed young Owen (James Norton).  She has also invited Joseph (Luke Treadaway) to the celebration despite their obviously troubled romantic past.  This is definitely not a bride looking to make the day any easier for her beleaguered (and nasty) mother (McGovern).

We proceed through the day as Dolly frets silently in her self-enforced seclusion and her family flits about, squabbling, greeting guests, making preparations and snarky remarks and being either solicitous or rude to the clearly miserable and out of place Joseph.  We learn about their past through various flashbacks.

Cheerful Weather for the Wedding is not a terribly complicated movie.  It’s basically an English period piece about a dysfunctional family,

Elizabeth McGovern by Oliver Strecker
Elizabeth McGovern

a wedding and a few secrets.  There is a little light humor coming from family members, but nothing raucous or more than mildly amusing.  The best of the bunch is Mackenzie Crook (Gareth from the original The Office series and one-eyed pirate Righetti from the Pirates of Caribbean franchise) as Dolly’s uncle who sees both the torture of a family wedding and the possibility to have a little fun.  McGovern is controlling, mean and passive aggressive as Mrs. Thatcham – so different from her role on Downton Abbey that it’s fairly enjoyable to watch her stretch her acting legs.

Sadly, the main thrust of the movie – the tension between Dolly and Joseph – is drawn out too long, with far too little in the way of actual content or interesting detail.  There just isn’t that much substance to the flashbacks and they end up being frustrating, repetitive and boring.  Even more problematic is that the characters of Dolly and Joseph are essentially awful.  They aren’t good people, so why do we care if they end

Felicity Jones by gdcgraphics
Felicity Jones

up happy at the end of this interminable day?  It’s far more fun to watch the family struggle to get through this supposedly happy event than it is to listen to the two of them simper and whine.  I couldn’t stand either of them.  I don’t know that either Jones or Treadaway really had a prayer with these people – they just suck as written.

In the end, there isn’t much to recommend here.  The period setting is rendered well enough but is not particularly interesting, nor is much done with it aside from dressing the characters in unattractive and uncomfortable looking clothing.  The few amusing scenes with the peripheral characters are not nearly enough to distract from the main characters being generally dreadful, selfish and spoiled human beings who don’t really deserve a happy ending.  2 stars out of 5 for Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, with an entire star belonging to Elizabeth McGovern for being so wonderfully and subtly wicked in her small role.

photos by Oliver Strecker and gdcgraphics

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