SF Bay JR | Los Altos, CA United States | 02/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's put it this way: When I first saw "A Wedding" as a 16-year-old, I was bored to near-suicide -- but then, I was just as bored by real-life weddings, and had precious little time to waste on such mundane events, let alone the nuances of interpersonal family relationships. I had more important things to do (like, stand in line for 36 hours for Eagles tickets).
Upon my second screening some 20-odd years later, I realized just how much pure, rich gold I had missed the first time around, owing to my teenaged self-absorption.
"A Wedding" is not a film for the young, nor for anyone uninterested in the dynamics of the family. But for those who have earned some hard-won wisdom about family, dashed dreams, and the self-imposed need to act "properly," this film holds great rewards.
It's a quiet picture, yes -- but for the alert, the introspective, and the "rode-hard" -- it delivers, in spades. As one previous reviewer wrote, it is indeed black comedy... but then, so isn't every forced-family event?"
Black Humor at Its Best
Diego Banducci | San Francisco, CA United States | 04/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Altman's technique of interweaving plots is perfectly suited to weddings, one-time events where participants, all with their own axes to grind, clash. Filmed in pre-politically correct 1978, this film simply gets better with age. The all-star cast is a joy, especially Lillian Gish and Mia Farrow, who plays a pubescent nymphomaniac.
Unlike Short Cuts or Ready to Wear, but like Nashville and Gosford Manor, this is an Altman film where it all comes together and works. Good stuff."
So close, yet so far
Jay Dickson | Portland, OR | 01/16/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Altman's follow-up to NASHVIILE (after having done THREE WOMEN in between) promised to do for the American family and the class system what NASHVILLE itself did for pop culture and democracy. The film doesn't live up to the standard of the earlier film by a long shot, and is much too wild and woolly to suit its topic. Yet it does have some great moments of redemption.
The film explores an afternoon at the home of one of the great wealthy old families in Chicago--the Sloans--as Dino Corelli (Desi Arnaz, Jr.), the grandson of the family's elderly matriarch Netty (Lillian Gish), marries "Muffin" Brenner (Amy Stryker), the brace-faced daughter of a newly wealthy Kentucky trucking company owner. The scenes near the beginning of the wedding guests frantically trying to find bathrooms in the Sloan mansion after the ceremony are as good as anything Altman's ever done. But the film loses a great deal of focus after that: it seems to be missing a center (not enough is done with either the groom or the bride--despite Stryker's promising performance--to make you care enough about either of them). And some of the bits, such as those involving the crazy security team hired to protect the wedding gifts, belong in another film altogether. The film's great redemption is Carol Burnett's performance as Muffin's mother Tulip, a deeply conventional (yet very likable) middle American woman whose life is turned upside down when the groom's wealthy uncle tells her he's fallen in love with her at first sight. At first shocked and (literally) nauseated, Tulip becomes slowly intrigued as she begins to see a possibility for her life she never imagined before. The emotional arc her character takes in the film is amazing: although Burnett's performance has some similarities to her work on her comedy show, it is much more subtle and fleshed out. Her Tulip Brenner, like the best characters in NASHVILLE, is someone you wonder about long after the movie is over: she seems like a real and fully developed person."
My favorite Robert Altman film . . .
Marc Harshbarger | Chic-a-go-go | 09/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is. I could go downstairs right now and watch "A Wedding"--for the upteenth time--and enjoy it all over again. I LOVE this film--even more than Altman's masterpiece, "Nashville". I saw "A Wedding" in the theater when I was a teenager--and, of course, I adored Carol Burnett (still do), so I had to see it. And I believe it was the first Altman film I ever saw, and from that moment on, I was a devoted fan of his.
"A Wedding" has over 40 main characters and lots of plots and subplots, but in a nutshell, it's about a young couple's wedding day that brings together both their families. Ms. Burnett plays the mother of the bride, Tulip, and she's just perfect in the role, which allows her to be hysterically funny and very dramatic. The legendary Lillian Gish plays the dying matriarch who remains upstairs in her bedroom throughout the entire film as various family members pay her a visit. Mia Farrow--in one of her best roles--plays Carol's daughter (the sister of the bride)--she's a mute troubled girl who causes major problems for her family. Desi Arnaz, Jr. (Lucy's handsome son) plays the groom, Pam Dawber (before "Mork & Mindy") plays Desi's ex-girlfriend and the delightful Geraldine Chaplin plays the frantic wedding coordinator--she's comic perfection in this film. Those are just a few of the many terrific actors in "A Wedding", which is very dark, very funny, very disturbing and very entertaining.
Does that sound like a good time to you? If so, then you're invited to attend "A Wedding". I think you'll enjoy yourself."
Altman at his BEST!!!!
B. Geltner | brooklyn, N.Y. United States | 04/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is a little slow the first half hour, but if you like altman's comedic style, this will be one of your favorites. I've seen this movie about 30 times. It's gets better and better."