Log Line

When a young Englishman encounters love-at-first-sight for the first time, he attempts to pursue its ultimate satisfaction—union with the woman he feels might be his soul mate.

Overview

Medium: Film

Writer(s): Richard Curtis

Director(s): Mike Newell

Production Co.(s): Working Title Films; PolyGram Filmed Entertainment; Channel Four Films

In Four Weddings and a Funeral, the main character, Charles, is a young man whose social world revolves around a close group of friends, all of whom are similar in age and none of whom is married. We-the-audience learn early on that he is what one character describes as a "serial monogamist," having dated many women but attached himself to none. And in a best-man wedding toast at the first of four weddings presented in the story, he confesses a sincere envy for people who are able to make a lifelong commitment to each other. In so doing, he reveals a personal longing to find someone to whom he himself would be willing to make that commitment—that is, a soul mate.

At the reception following the first wedding, Charles is struck for the first time in his life with the experience of love at first sight, the object of which is an American wedding guest named Carrie. Although his unfamiliarity with the feeling throws him off balance, he does what he can to understand it and to pursue its satisfaction, foregoing an overnight stay at a castle owned by the wealthiest of his friends so that he can afford himself the chance of running into Carrie at a pub where they have, coincidentally, each booked a room for the night.

Their meeting at the pub turns quickly romantic and results in soul-satisfying lovemaking that leaves him psychically breathless. And when Carrie departs the next morning (to go back to America), he seems bereft and filled with a sense of great loss. For her part, Carrie too seems to sense the loss of something special—suggesting that the two characters share a soul-mate connection that neither fully appreciates.

When Charles meets Carrie again at a second wedding—that of his friends Bernard and Lydia (whose romance was spawned at the first wedding)—he is elated, full of the joy that comes with a soul-mate-like reunion. But his joy is turned to devastating sadness when Carrie introduces him to her fiancĂ©, Hamish, a boorish and very wealthy Scotsman. The day turns absolutely hellish for him when he finds himself seated at a reception table populated by his ex-girlfriends. But it is the blow to his hopes of romantic union with Carrie that defines the day. When he sees her depart the hotel in a limousine with Hamish, he feels his loss deepen. And when she returns shortly thereafter, having dropped off Hamish at the airport, he is nobly accepting of his fate but eagerly accepting of the offer to ride with her to his hotel—and to join her in her own room for a nightcap.

Again, the attraction between them rules the night, and when he leaves her half-sleeping in bed the next morning, they both sense the bittersweet loss in his departure.

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