I am coming towards the end of my Trinity TESOL course to teach English as a foreign language; I have successfully taught and passed all of my lessons, passed my exams and have got my coursework pretty much finished! I finally have a bit of time to myself to be able to read and watch TV! It feels like such a luxury after four extremely intense weeks of constant work. So yesterday evening I sat down and watched the movie adaptation of Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (which I ordered from Lovefilm months ago).
I read Julia Strachey’s Cheerful Weather for the Wedding about a month ago now (you can read my review here) as part of my Persephone Project. At the time I had no idea that it had been made into a film, and a relatively recent one at that! I did have my concerns about how such a short, almost novella-like, story could be made into a film. I was worried that many aspects of the novel, that are only hinted or alluded too, would be distorted and exaggerated to be much more than they actually are in the novel. So it was with an equal sense of trepidation and eagerness that I sat down and started to watch the 2012 film.
However, I was immediately impressed by the cast. There were a lot of recognisable actors, such as Luke Treadaway, who I saw in the phenomenal theatre adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time in the West-End, Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Cora Crawley, the Countess of Grantham, in my favourite TV show Downton Abbey and Zoe Tapper who plays Ellen Love in the ITV period drama Mr Selfridge, amongst many others. As a film in itself, I really enjoyed the story. A young woman, Dolly, has rushed into a marriage with someone she has only known for a few short months. At the beginning of the film Dolly is upstairs in her bedroom trying to put off the inevitable preparations for her wedding. She is sneakily drinking rum from the bottle and thinking about the summer she had the year before.
Joseph, who is played by Luke Treadaway, has been invited to the wedding. He is wondering around downstairs whilst the wedding party turn up. He appears distracted and perplexed by his invitation to the wedding. Through flashbacks we realise that Dolly and Joseph have a history. They spent the majority of the previous summer together. However, I think the film, like I predicted, does over-exaggerate this history and makes it more than it appears in the novella. So as an adaptation it doesn’t stick truly to the story but as a film I thought it was rather good. Dolly seemed like a strong, independent-minded young woman. She knew what she wanted and wasn’t prepared to stick around and wait for something to happen. I also found Joseph a lot more likeable in the film adaptation than I did in the book. He seemed a lot more emotional and you could tell that he was heartbroken by the marriage. However, just like in the book, he is incapable of acting on his emotions. I have to say the film made me a lot more emotional than I was when I read the book!
One character that I did think stuck very closely to the book was Dolly’s mother, played by Elizabeth McGovern. There was a strange little scene when she first comes on to the screen – a slow motion shot – which I found quite strange. But she was exactly how I imagined her to be. She was impatient, overbearing and annoying. It was excellent acting from my favourite Countess of Grantham.
Overall, I though Cheerful weather for the Wedding was a beautifully made film – the costumes were amazing. However, as an adaptation of Strachey’s 1932 novella I didn’t find it stuck to the story or the characters very truthfully. It seemed to me a loosely based adaptation of the story, which I guess makes sense considering how short the actual book is!