Truly beguiling romantic comedy is one of the hardest things for a modern film to pull off, but screenwriter Richard Curtis (The Tall Guy) has hit just the right balance with this story, which is original in every sense of the word.
Charles (Hugh Grant) is a charming bumbler who, at an English country wedding, is very willingly seduced by another guest, the gorgeous and exceedingly accommodating American, Carrie (Andie MacDowell). Back in London, Charles blurts out his profound feelings for her even as she’s heading to the alter with a wealthy older Scotsman (Corin Redgrave).
A sudden death at the reception precipitates the funeral, at which the heretofore unknown diversity and depth of Charles’ inner circle is revealed.
The success of such lighthearted nonsense depends upon the appeal, adeptness and timing of the cast, and it is here that the film really soars. Grant’s got just the combination of good looks, rueful self-disparagement, quickness and bespectacled nerdiness to carry off refined, sophisticated screen comedy. MacDowell gives her role everything it needs – allure, warmth, a natural breeziness and a worldliness enhanced by romanticism.
1994: Nominations: Best Picture, Original Screenplay