Cheerful Weather... cheers up Tribeca
by Boyd van Hoeij
25/04/2012 - Though the weather has been unsteady in New York for the past couple of days, moods were lifted at the world premiere of the delightful British period film Cheerful Weather for the Wedding [trailer] at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The directorial debut of British director Donald Rice is an adaptation of the well-known 1932 novella by Julia Strachey, who was part of the Bloomsbury group. The screenplay was written by the director and Mary Henely-Magill.
Appropriately for a film with 'weather' in the title, the film is mainly a story about moods, though unlike most features that have the word 'wedding' on the poster, it does not feature the actual nuptials, instead focusing on the nervous hours before and after the main event.
The protagonists are the suave-looking yet humble and a little nervous young man, Joseph (Luke Treadaway), who has arrived at the small Thatcham family estate for the Christmas-time wedding of the pretty Dolly (Felicity Jones), a girl he wooed only a summer earlier (the summer is shown in yellow and green-hued flashblacks that contrast sharply with the earthen and colder colours of the winter).
It is clear early on that Joseph hopes he may dissuade Dolly from marrying Owen (James Norton, wisely given no personality to speak of), though if Mrs Thatcham (Elizabeth McGovern) has anything to do with it, this will not come to pass.
Rather than a three-way struggle, however, the film develops into a large ensemble piece in which each of the family members that start arriving for the big day have a role, including pernickety aunt Nancy (Fenella Woolgar), her husband, David (Mackenzie Crook) and their little son (Ben Greaves Neal), who is fond of confetti bombs; the increasingly drunk, not-yet-of-drinking-age cousin Tom (Olly Alexander) and other assorted friends and relatives.
Rice keeps the rhythm fast and the line delivery sharp while making the most of his strong ensemble, which includes TV and film veterans such as Crook (The Office) and McGovern (Downton Abbey) as well as upcoming actors such as Jones and Treadaway.
The film was produced by Yellow Knife and Goldcrest Films International, and is sold by the latter. Sales for this solid English period dramedy are likely to be healthy, both in Europe and the U.S.