It’s time for another character spotlight since I slacked off last week. The first one in the series was on the amazing-yet-under-appreciated British actor Rufus Sewell, and this time I’m featuring another Brit, actress Kristin Scott Thomas.
Please note: this post may contain spoilers
This fabulous British rom-com Four Weddings and a Funeral pretty much launched Hugh Grant’s Hollywood career. The floppy-haired, stuttering Londoner became an instant heartthrob and the movie itself garnered critical acclaim, including two Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, and was a hit with audiences the world over. In fact, according to IMDb, it was the highest-grossing British film in cinema history with a worldwide box office in excess of $260 million.
I’m not surprised it was such a hit as it is really a charming film with the wittiest script and great performances. It’s an unconventional love story between a commitment-phobe Charles and an American woman Carrie (Andie MacDowell) that spans through… well, what the title says. Throughout their journey, Charles is always surrounded by closest group of friends, who – with the exception of the happy gay couple Matthew and Gareth – are all looking for love of their own. Amongst them, one really stood out to me is the quietly-suffering girl with a massive crush: Fiona. Before I get to the character, let me just say that I’ve always admired Kristin Scott Thomas, the 50-year-old actress always delivers top-notch performances in everything I’ve seen her in: The English Patient, The Horse Whisperer, Life as A House, Gosford Park, and Easy Virtue, among others. Most recently she garnered a BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations in the drama I’ve Loved You So Long.
Though the story is focused on the somewhat topsy-turvey romantic journey of Charles and Carrie, it’s the side story of Charles and Fiona that leaves a lasting impression on me. Sure it’s great to see the two main leads finally hooking up, and so Carrie finally gets her man in the end, la di da. But the witty, well-dressed and loyal Fiona only gets to watch the love of her life gets wrapped up in one romantic endeavor after another. Yet, it’s a testament of how great the script is that they never painted her as a victim, in fact, one doesn’t feel sorry for Fiona so much as deep empathy, as we’ve all been there before, you know, who hasn’t had an unrequited love once in their lifetime? The character also has the most memorable lines, especially the one where she had a naughty chat with the bumbling priest Father Gerald (played brilliantly by Rowan Atkinson) when discussing what it feels like to do weddings for the first time.
This scene below is one of my favorites from the movie, it’s not completely unpredictable but it still pinches your heart when you hear Fiona answers his best friend’s question with “You, Charlie.” Just as soon as she said it, she stops, perhaps regretting what she just did but knew there’s no turning back. It’s an exquisite scene, well-directed, well-written and superbly-acted by both Hugh and Kristin. In the middle of a festive, boisterous party, the mood completely shifts into something so quiet and heart-wrenching-ly real that you could almost feel Fiona’s pain and Charles’ astonishment, yet Fiona never loses her cool even as she bares her soul knowing there is no chance they could be together. What a refreshingly un-sugarcoated portrayal of the reality of love.
(Special thanks to Becky a.k.a Prairiegirl for capturing the clip for me)
If there is ever a moment where you want to scream at Charles for: one, being so darn oblivious and two, for not choosing someone as awesome as Fiona, who’s not only wealthy and beautiful but also knows him inside and out and loves him just the same, it’s this scene. But of course, love ain’t that simple, isn’t it? And perhaps, happy ending is overrated. This movie offers such a wonderful study of relationship that the best love story doesn’t always end up the way you expect it to be.
18 thoughts on “Flix Character Spotlight: Fiona – Four Weddings & A Funeral”
‘It looks like a meringue.’ Love her.
She’s doing the ‘bitchy woman in her forties’ now, which slightly disappoints me. But if she compensates with “The Other Boleyn Girl” with “I Love You So Long,” in the same year that slightly gives me hope.
I think she says, ‘she looks like a big meringue.’ Ha! Yes, she has the bitchiest, wittiest lines indeed.
I’ve got to see I Love You So Long. As for ‘Boleyn Girl,’ I’ll check it out on account of Eric Bana, Mr. Yowza! 🙂
Love KST. Gosford Park is possibly one of my favorite movies ever, and she and Maggie Smith are positively divine in their bitchiness.
Also, seconded on that “Yowza,” RTM. 😀
Gosford Park also has another ‘Yowza’ dude Mr. Clive Owen 🙂
He..he.. love how we have similar taste on men, Sam… well, except for Bardem, sorry 😦
Variety is the spice of life! Or something. Mmm, Clive Owen. I do believe we have ALSO discussed Jeremy Northam at some point. Not that Gosford Park is his best (looking) film, but still. 🙂
Yes, yes! Man, if I had all the $$$ and power at all in Hollywood, I’d make my own ‘Oceans’ type ensemble movie with all those awesome Brits & Aussies: Clive, Jeremy, Russell, Gerry, etc. 🙂 Yeah, a girl can dream!
Wow. At first glance I thought those stills were from the film “Bitter Moon” by Roman Polanski (a guilty personal favorite). Funny that both Grant and Thomas play a naive couple in that film as well as Four Weddings… Just thought I’d mention.
I had no idea Grant was ever in a Polanski movie, with KTS no less. I might have to check that out.
A classic romcom with an excellent cast 🙂 I never get tired of watching this film, in spite of myself! The highlight being that rendition of Manilow..!
Heh, for some reason that one escaped me, but yes I remember it now (…you know I can’t smile without you…) Too funny!!
YES! I was all for Fiona, even before I fell in love with KST…and she does have those excellent lines. Hugh Grant was never the smartest cookie.
Nope, he never was. What a dope he was moping around and aching for Carrie when the perfect girl is right in front of him! Oh well, you can’t choose who you fall in love with I guess…
Loved her in this too! She’s an amazing actress and completely underrated in my view. She also comes across as very humble in interviews, which is a breath of fresh air, compared to some of the more ego-centred types.
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Like some Japanese movies, the scene where Fiona expresses her love to Charles is epic. For me, her face shows the pain of the emotions sweeping through her; initially her smile fades, then she looks at him with unrequited love , and finally the thought of what she’s lost sweeps across her face. Kristin Scott Thomas does a superb job.
We can all wonder why Fiona has never told Charlie how she feels before, but those of us lucky enough to have fallen this hard understand how hard it can be to get the words out. We can also wonder why (from the little we know of the characters) she’d fall for a not-overly-well-off Charles, but that’s not the point. The human experience of a broken heart is portrayed here with the skill and delicacy of a surgeon cutting a bullet out of a wound.
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