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Muriel's Wedding tells the tale of Muriel Heslop, an appropriate name for a girl without much of an identity. At the beginning of the movie, Muriel is a put upon girl with a bleak future and an even more bleak present. She attends the wedding of a "friend" of hers in a stolen dress, which sets up Muriel's life as a series of lies she tells to make herself into something. One lie begets another, and soon, Mariel is off to Syndey with new gal pal Rhonda. Muriel struggles to find herself amidst the lies she tells and the real life for which she yearns, thus the story. This film is most unpredictable, and full of wonderful nuanced surprises that totally make sense to the story.
Toni Collette deserves a standing ovation for her performance of Muriel. This was the first movie that I ever saw her in, and who knew the range of talent she possess. Just watch this movie, and then Sixth Sense, The Hours, and Connie and Carla, and see the range she covers. It should only be a matter of time before people realize her immense and total talent. Just watch Toni walking down the aisle as Muriel; her total, goofy joy is palpable... amazing stuff.
Also appearing is the wonderful and solid Rachel Griffiths as her friend Rhonda. Together, they turn in a tour de force performance to help hapless Muriel find herself.
Much must be said for director PJ Hogan's handling of this material. Given to a lesser director, the script may have gotten out of hand with its numerous twists and turns.Read more ›
Fortunately this rites-of-passage drama doesn't lay it on heavy with the sentimentality. This brings about a conclusion that's nothing short of depressing but still poignant. The comedy is wonderfully crass, especially from Muriel's friends from Porpoise Spit and the sheer gaudiness of the whole movie is beautifully carried by all concerned. When Muriel's bridesmaids waddle up the aisle to an ABBA song, or Collette and Griffiths jubilently belt out tunes at a karaoke bar, you'll be laughing.
Given this, it's rare to find such comedy that will bring you crashing down to earth with suicide, cancer and an unhappy arranged marriage. This is one of those movies that will never make you cry; it will make you sympathise with its characters. It's certainly a great gift of Hogan's that he manages to pull both genres off so well at the same time.
But this wouldn't be half as good if it wasn't for Collette and Griffiths' magnificently crazy, emotional performances. 'Muriel's Wedding' should also be cheered for the fact that it doesn't succumb to typical Hollywood glitz and glamour. Muriel remains overweight throughout the whole movie, there's no 'Pygmalion'-like twist, it's the person that changes and perhaps that's what the movie is about. Completely unmissable.
You will both laugh and wince when she is trying on bridal gowns with absolutely no fiance in the wings, calmly and convincingly telling the sales clerks of her wonderful, upcoming wedding, so full of sweet lies and whimsy that you have to feel for her. Not only does Muriel constantly step on her own feet, she has many mean spirited family members and so-called "chums" to remind her just how pitiful she is, something that especially hits home to this writer. There always seems to be plenty of people who want to call attention to your faults (especially if you happen to also be overweight and a "geek"), but Muriel has her come-uppance, even if it happens to be via an arranged wedding to a self absorbed athlete who wants nothing but a token. Only Muriel would pick an ABBA tune for her processional (the feel good "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do", one of my favorites) but this may be the only wedding she's going to have so let the girl have her fun.
This movie is considered a sleeper which is a shame. It should be viewed by all girls who ever were or are overweight and feel that true love only comes to the thin. Sometimes self love is sacrificed in the name of "give-me-somebody/anybody-to-marry" but, at least in Muriel's case, she realizes this in the nick of time. Give it a look and be ready to laugh as well as ponder.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
...check out crocodile dundee's directorial debut.....this is a great movie and a forerunner to the movie 'mama mia'.... Read morePublished 1 month ago by darlene guyett
The Ugly Duckling makes it big and comes of age in this tender film about struggling to be in the "in crowd" and achieve her dreams. Read morePublished 1 month ago by liberty
This movie is a classic Toni Collette. I enjoy her work. The story is basically sad but you root for Muriel. I think everyone who enjoys Toni should see this. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sophia
ABBA music throughout which makes this an entertaining movie/story.Published 3 months ago by Imogene
Be aware that this is a sad, disturbing, depressing movie. It is billed as an hilarious comedy worthy of 2 thumbs up.....I wholeheartedly disagree. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Texas Reader
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