Weddings are such a wondrous cinematic stomping ground. Why? Because so much can go wrong. In real life, we want everything to go to plan, in all aspects of life, so we perversely watch films sometimes hoping everything will just be completely chaotic, fulfilling a side to us we can’t entertain in real life. At a wedding, it’s not just the big moment of ‘I do’ but the sheer level of intricate planning that could all fall apart. The cake, the dress, the first dance, so many moments, to a point where in real life when you get married (which I did recently, thank you very much) it feels like you’re the star of your own movie, as a whole affair that has become steeped in the romanticism of cinema, synonymous with the moving pictures.
But it’s not just the chaos, of course, it’s the love – and nothing makes for better cinema than the notion of love. So if you combine the love with the potential disaster, it breeds wonderful cinema. Such is the case with C’est La Vie! by French filmmaking duo Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (Untouchable). This riotous comedy centres on a big grandiose wedding reception, through the eyes of the staff – and highlights every single danger and every potential issue, and yet is a film full of love. It’s one of the best wedding movies for some while – but here’s our list of our five all-time favourites:
The Philadelphia Story – The reason this wonderful piece of cinema makes our list is because it’s a film centred entirely around weddings, and it has a leading cast consisting of Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart. They are three reasons, and you don’t need any others.
Father of the Bride – Ah, Steve Martin. An ambassador for grey hair and outlandish comedy – this Charles Shyer production delves into an outside member of the wedding party, as while it’s usually the bride and groom we focus on, in this instance, it’s the beleaguered father of the bride, who finds himself somewhat reluctant to let go. It’s a remake of the Spencer Tracy classic, but we prefer this version, for not only is Martin on board, but Diane Keaton too.
Four Weddings and a Funeral – As you can tell from the title, there are a quartet of weddings in this Richard Curtis movie, directed by Mike Newell, that holds a very significant place in modern British cinema, as a film that tied in with the Brit Pop era, and a New Labour government on the horizon – it felt like a good time to be from Britain, and this film encapsulated that sense of hope. That hope came in the form of Hugh Grant, who at one point, was about as famous as the royal family in this country – and in romantic comedies of this nature, it’s easy to see why.
Muriel’s Wedding – Generally speaking, weddings are between two people very much in love, and films that are about weddings tend to want to explore that genuine, unconditional love. But this Aussie comedy was different, for it used the wedding sub-genre format, except in this instance, we were dealing with a different kind of love. It features a fantastic lead performance from Toni Collette, as she portrays a tragic character we can all resonate with, for there’s a little bit of Muriel within us all. Add to that an ABBA soundtrack, and you truly are on to a winner.
Wedding Crashers – Wedding Crashers came out during something of a comedic resurgence, and this David Dobkin endeavour was arguably the face of it. It features the excellent duo of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, who play two opportunist men who, as the title suggests, crash weddings in a bid to pick up girls. Naturally, they find real love, and things get somewhat more complex. With Rachel McAdams, Christopher Walken and Bradley Cooper also on board, this is a wedding celebration you do not want to miss out on. That being said, the funniest scene actually takes place at a funeral, with a memorable cameo from Will Ferrell.