Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
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When someone you know becomes someone you knew, it's normal and natural to look back on them and remember them in a flawless light that highlights the happy times. And in those moments of sorrow and grief, the most someone can do is try to give their loved one a respectable, dignified farewell.
For the British comedy, Death at a Funeral, the key word in that last sentence is "try." All Daniel wants is to give his dearly departed dad a proper funeral. Through a comical series of events Daniel ends up getting a lot more than he bargained for as everything seems to go wrong.
When the film opens, Daniel (Matthew Macfadyen) - with a grave expression on his face - is preparing for the arrival first of his father's coffin, then for the arrival of friends and family. When the coffin arrives, Daniel is asked if he would like to take a look at his father. When it's opened, Daniel's expression changes to one of utter confusion as he says, "Who's that? That's not my father." And so the series of unfortunate, but comical, events begins.
A colorful cast of characters bring this film to life. Attending the funeral is Daniel's brother, Robert (Rupert Graves), who's more successful that Daniel; Daniel's wife, Jane (Keeley Hawes), who desperately wants to move out of the family home. Daniel's cousin, Martha (Daisey Donovan), has brought her fiance (but no one knows he's her fiance), Simon (Alan Tudyk) who thought he took a Valium before coming to the funeral to calm his nerves. But what Simon took wasn't Valium; it was acid and Simon is trippin'. Simon got the "Valium" from Martha's brother, Troy (Kris Marshall), who's also at the funeral looking for the bottle of "Valium" that Simon dropped. Then there's Howard (Andy Nyman) who has terrible luck and gets stuck in the worst - but funniest - situations, including having to take care of crotchety, old Uncle Alfred (Peter Vaughan).
There's also a mystery guest in the form of a dwarf named Peter (Peter Dinklage), who just wants to talk to Daniel and all Daniel wants to do is prepare to give the eulogy. What Peter has to say is not only startling and funny, but it truly sets the plot in motion and so the funeral begins.
Writer Dean Craig expertly spreads the comedy among all of the characters. Each and every one of them will have you laughing until you think you can't possibly laugh any more, but I guarantee, you will. The comedy is dark, satirical and hysterical.
Director Frank Oz did a tremendous job as well. In a film where a viewer easily could have become lost in all the characters, Oz keeps the story and its flow clear.
All of the actors deserve praise. None of them were over-the-top. It is a very believable farce, and that is to their credit. They say it's harder to make people laugh than it is to make them cry. I can say that I have not laughed this hard at a film in a long time. If I wasn't laughing, I was at least constantly grinning.
What I liked is that the film stays true to itself and its mission. At the end of it all, this is a funeral. Despite the unfortunate events, at the end of it all a loved one is still gone and a eulogy must be delivered. And this film delivers it with justice.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age