The young ladies of Porpoise Spit, Australia dream of the perfect life that comes with meeting a boy and getting married. According to just about everyone in town the surest sign that you've succeeded is having a husband. Muriel Heslop (Toni Collette, Sixth Sense) lives at home with her parents and siblings where her bedroom wall is plastered with magazine images of brides and her dreams are filled with fairytale weddings.
Muriel's Wedding takes place in the early nineties and follows the antics of Muriel in her conquest to get married. The hilarity all starts at a wedding where Muriel catches a bouquet and miffs one of the maids (and so-called friends). She then gets arrested at the wedding for wearing a dress she stole from the local boutique (a recurring theme for her). A major hurdle for Muriel is that she isn't popular; even her father is more popular than she is. Muriel insists on hanging out with a crowd of would-be-harlots who berate her constantly for never listening, not wearing the right clothes, being fat, listening to 70s music, and constantly embarrassing them.
The girls dump her heartlessly and go off on an extravagant resort trip without her. Not one to be persuaded otherwise Muriel steals $12,000 from her father and shows up on the lavish trip and pretends to be surprised to see them. The girls become even more volatile. In walks Rhonda Epinstalk (Rachel Griffiths, Brothers and Sisters), an old classmate, who not only stands her ground against the unseemly girls but takes Muriel under her wing to show her how to have a good time while still being herself.
Eventually, the two girls run off to Sydney, the "City of Brides", where they get jobs across the street from one another and share a flat. Away from her father's constant berating of her failures (high-school and typing school), Muriel is able to blossom into a woman worth knowing; one who begins enjoying her life. She cuts and de-frizzes her hair and gets a healthy glowing splotch-free complexion. And boys begin flirting with her. She actually begins enjoying herself for who she is.
This is a charming film about growing up, self esteem, body image, surviving in a dysfunctional family and learning to live on your own. In the end Muriel realizes she is more like her father than she thought and she decides to change. There are laughs, sadness (one of the characters develops cancer and another commits suicide). And of course there's catchy Abba music throughout (Mamma Mia, Fernando, Dancing Queen, Waterloo) to keep your toes tapping. I highly recommend seeing this film at least once but it is just as delicious the second and third time.
Purchase Muriel's Wedding from Amazon.com.
Purchase Muriel's Wedding from Amazon.ca.