25 July 2014 | dbogosian-1
For Anglophiles only?
I'm not sure it's essential, but a love of all things English is surely an asset when approaching this movie. Peopled by a menagerie of eccentric, frustrating, and ultimately endearing characters, the movie's appeal lies in the brilliance of its script and the interest it ultimately engenders in its many protagonists.
Set in a stately country home in perhaps the 1930s, the movie covers the events of one morning and afternoon. Dolly is about to wed Owen, yet Joseph turns up the morning of the wedding. We find that there had been a whirlwind romance between Joseph and Dolly the previous summer, that Dolly's mother was against the match, and now Joseph returns at the 11th hour to perhaps intervene?
There are far too many supporting characters to mention, and they are essential to the movie's success, but the emotional focus is entirely on Dolly and Joseph. The story of their past romance is artfully narrated in a series of flashbacks (the colour palette changes each time we flash back) which interweave nicely with the events of the wedding day. The emotion between them is portrayed with sensitivity and realism; their interactions with those around them (who are mostly oblivious to what is going on) are often funny but also laced with pathos. The various zany antics that set the backdrop for this drama are hilarious in themselves, and there is a nice blend of humour and gravity to keep one attentive. The house, the gardens, the fashions are all splendid.
What the movie lacks is some greater theme or message; it's about a particular love story between a particular man and woman, but beyond that, one doesn't leave with anything more substantial. Nonetheless, it's a pleasure to watch.
If you like English culture, if you enjoy scintillating, witty repartee, then "Cheerful Weather" is sure to please. If you find the English upper crust snobby and boring, well, you might be better off staying away.