A young social outcast in Australia steals money from her parents to finance a vacation where she hopes to find happiness, and perhaps love.
That was an excellent one.
The film creates a perfect balance between action and depth of basic needs, in the midst of an infertile atmosphere.
Like the great film, it's made with a great deal of visible affection both in front of and behind the camera.
The story, direction, characters, and writing/dialogue is akin to taking a tranquilizer shot to the neck, but everything else was so well done.
Muriel's Wedding focus's on young Muriel Helop (Toni Colette) who resides in the small out of the way town of Porpoise Spit; she sits alone in her room listening to the songs of Abba, and dreaming of a better life when she is married. The problem is however that she has never had a boyfriend; and her social standing isn't the greatest among her so called bitchy friends.
Eventually she finds herself cruelly shunned by them; and her dysfunctional home life with her domineering father (Bill Hunter) doesn't help matters. Stealing some money she runs way, with fate bringing her together with former classmate and fellow outcast Rhonda Epinstalk; (Rachel Griffith) which proves to be a life changing encounter.An unexpected sleeper hit on it's 1994 theatrical release; raking $15.7 million at the domestic box office, and $57.5 million on a modest $9 million budget; Muriel's Wedding was the archetypal; Ugly Duckling story which had been told many times before. This is figuratively speaking really, for when it's all said and done the titular Muriel as portrayed by the then hitherto unknown Toni Collette was, and still is far from unattractive to this day. Having gained 40lb in just 7 weeks which marked her dedication to the role which brought her to international attention; it did nothing to rob her of the radiance that would occasionally seep through her dowdy facade. It's hardly revelatory that she should be so, given the clear genetic weight gain from her even more frumpy overweight sister; (Gabby Millgate) and to her emotionally troubled mother who has the seemingly burdensome task of also having to take care of the rest Muriel's male and female siblings. It would be a lie say that her family is not dysfunctional; and it's not made any easier by her overbearing father; Bill Heslop with veteran actor; Bill Hunter stepping effectively in to the role of a boorish local counsel-man with political ambitions beyond his meagre talents. A man who routinely passes the buck for his shortcomings onto his put upon family; it's difficult not to have any sympathy for them.However; in terms of Muriel's personal issues, they're compounded even further by the clique of mean-spirited, self-centred "popular girls. Vain and egocentric to the point of toxicity; they grind poor Muriel to emotional breaking point when (and it's no real spoiler) they pitilessly cast her aside. It' a a genuinely heartbreaking moment and Director; P.J. Hogan (who would inevitably cross the Atlantic to direct the exceedingly unremarkable, 2003 cinematic version of; Peter Pan) who also scripted the film, showcases his aptitude for characterization and setting a scene; brings them and the scenario marvelously to life, as he does the rest of the supporting players.It all of course serves as the impetus behind our disheartened heroine and is the key driving force by her irrevocable quest for change and acceptance. And in comes Rachel Griffith's as the sassy, unconstrained Rhonda Epinstack, a former classmate who fate should deem it necessary to cross her figurative path. This marked another breakout performance which would eventually see Griffith like her leading lady head for the bright lights of Hollywood, featuring in movies like; My Best Friends Wedding, Blow and the hit cable TV series; Six Feet Under. Somewhat in your face she may be as a character; but it's a quality that serves her well as there is a genuine, bona fide person behind the brassy exterior. What you see is what you get and her no nonsense, forthright nature is what necessitates anchoring the misguided Muriel in reality. Most of her scenes with Rhonda showcase some of the highlights of the movie; whether it be from them performing an Abba tribute act together at the sunny holiday resort where they met, to a night out on the town where the two; with Muriel dragging along her date; the shy, unassuming Brice Nobes (Matt Day). A young parking inspector with whom Muriel caught his eye in the video store she is now employed in. It culminates with an amusing romantic tryst back at her and Rhonda's flat which the bashful young man won't forget in a hurry. But for all the comedy; there is a significant dose of bitter-sweet drama which underpins the lighter moments. There's Muriel's predilection for being economical with the truth and the fact and her defrauding her own parents, the latter knack for theft being something she inherited all too well from her troubled mother; and the lengths she goes to for acceptance from her bitchy former "friends"; as well as her father's self absorbed pretensions, and an unavoidable test of friendship for her that comes right out of left field; all make for a mostly sublime tonal balancing act which writer/director Hogan skillfully pulls off. Admittedly it's a movie with themes that haven't been tackled before; and the cynic in me might think that certain aspects as it comes in to it's final act may descend a bit too much in to the absurd as with our young heroine exhibiting her love for Abba in a comically theatrical moment of tawdry showiness. But it does work for the most part and when it needs to it does really pull at the heartstrings with profound effectiveness. Boasting some superb performances with nary a foot being put wrong it stands up against the similarly themed; Australian hit Strictly Ballroom although it would never be a patch on the wonderful; Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Muriel's WeddingThe best thing about wedding season in Australian is that it's winter so your summers aren't completely ruined.Desperate to escape her overbearing parents (Bill Hunter, Jeanie Drynan), hopeless romantic and ABBA super-fan Muriel (Toni Collette) steals money from them and goes on a tropical vacation.She returns home a new woman and gets a flat and roommate (Rachel Griffiths). But these lifestyle changes don't keep her life from falling apart. And as her parents split, her friend gets ill and she drowns in debt, Muriel must grow up in order to stay afloat.More depressing drama than laugh-out-loud comedy, this 1994 sleeper hit from Down Under deals with the harsh realities of becoming an adult, but manages to soften their edges with dark-humor and an up-tempo soundtrack dominated by the aforementioned Swedish pop group.Incidentally, always seat your Australian wedding guests as far from the gift table as possible.Green Lightvidiotreviews.blogspot.ca
Muriel Heslop (Toni Collette) is the fat ridiculed girl. She catches the wedding bouquet and all the girls pressure her to give it up. Her family is a bunch of lay-abouts. Her father Bill is a bully and her mother is a pushover. Bill is a corrupt local politician in Porpoise Spit, Australia. Muriel daydreams, lies and steals. Deidre Chambers offers a job and her mother gives her a blank cheque to be paid to Deidre. Instead Muriel uses it for a vacation and finding a husband. She is spotted by Rhonda Epinstalk (Rachel Griffiths) from her childhood. She decides to run away to Syndey where she lives with Rhonda. Bill walks out on the family and is under investigation. Rhonda becomes a paraplegic from a tumor.This is such a quirky funny Australian indie filled with dark wacky characters. It is such an odd unique movie. The humor comes from anger and mostly unlikeable characters. Muriel is not a normal character. She's insanely clingy, secretly bitter and outwardly delusional. The only normal character is Epinstalk and she faces some real darkness. The whole movie has a lot of darkness. There is a good deal of both laughing at Muriel and along with Muriel. There is also something ABBA that fits the craziness. It is both cheesy and upbeat. It keeps the movie from crumbling under the weight of Muriel's behavior and the small mindedness. Things get quite dark but it never succumbs to it. The last half's tone turn dark and ends in a very uplifting feel.
First of all, this is obviously a chick-flick (I mean, it's a movie in which the main character is obsessed with getting married, so how could it not be one?) and if you purely take it as such, this movie still serves its purpose well and is also maintaining enough. However as a movie itself it is far too uneven and does just too much wrong to consider this a great movie in its sort.It's one of those movies that tries to combine humor with drama. And it's not very successful or effective at that, in my opinion. The movie never finds the right balance, since its comedy and characters themselves are being far too over-the-top, which never blends in very well with the movie its, supposedly, dramatic moments.But also a big problem of the movie lays with the movie its main character, played by Toni Collette. She lies to her best friends and own family, she steals and runs of with people's money and also doesn't always comes across as too bright. Somethings obviously wrong with her but in this movie you obviously are supposed to care for her and her naivety is supposed to be something sweet. Needless to say this did not always worked out that way for me at all.But it remains a movie with a sort of charm to it still. I mean, despite everything it remains a pleasant movie to watch, even while it still annoyed me at certain moments. But perhaps that is also because this is obviously supposed to be a chick-flick and I am clearly no chick last time I checked. So it's fair to say this movie is not really for me and women will be more capable of appreciating this movie for what it is.The story is also really lacking some focus at times. Sometimes certain plot lines are simply getting dropped and it often makes some sudden jumps with its story, that don't always connect too well. This also definitely goes at the expense of certain characters in this movie, which I was often more interested in.You can still see how this movie partly inspired 'Mamma Mia!' the musical and later also movie. The ABBA music often plays a central role in the movie and it often has the same sort of happy-go-lucky, colorful, type of atmosphere to it. Good and straightforward enough as a chick-flick but other than that, far too flawed to consider this a great movie.6/10http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/