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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You're Terrible Muriel"....
But fortunately, this movie is far from! An impressive cast, wonderful story, and even more catchy soundtrack will leave you humming for weeks afterwards. Muriel's Wedding is a tour de force of wonderful filmmaking at its best.

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...
Published on June 1, 2005 by James Hiller

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story - Not So Good Film
Muriel Heslop is an unhappy Abba fan who is a bit on the plump side, unemployed and put down a lot by her vile "friends" and her even viler father. Add to that she has no self-motivation and is a selfish, self-obsessed, lying thief who, on gaining self-confidence deserts her one true friend, Rhonda, at a time when she needs her most and forgets all about her...
Published on April 4, 2000 by Ms. S. K. Williams


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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You're Terrible Muriel"...., June 1, 2005
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This review is from: Muriel's Wedding (DVD)
But fortunately, this movie is far from! An impressive cast, wonderful story, and even more catchy soundtrack will leave you humming for weeks afterwards. Muriel's Wedding is a tour de force of wonderful filmmaking at its best.

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. Hogan trusts his actors and the stories, and allows them to show through. Also, the film is visually brilliant. Muriel's lip sync of the ABBA song in itself is a scene right from another Australian import "Priscilla Queen of the Desert".

Not to mention the music. ABBA songs feature prominently throughout the movie, and actually allow for the story of the movie to progress wonderfully. It has been said that profits from Muriel's Wedding allowed for the creation of another ABBA delight, the musical "Mamma Mia". If that's true, what another wonderful gift from this movie.

It seemed in the 1990's, Australian performed a wonderful trifecta of movies that blew away American audiences: Muriel's Wedding, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and Strictly Ballroom. Muriel's Wedding may be the lesser known of the three, but it is equally as strong. If you want a funny, funny movie, with wonderful acting, and a dash of drama thrown in, plan to attend Muriel's Wedding soon!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unconventional comedy, May 28, 2002
This review is from: Muriel's Wedding [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is one of those comedies that will make you laugh hysterically and then shut the audience up with a sudden tragedy. The story follows Muriel (Collette), an overweight ugly duckling who is ridiculed by her friends and her father but finds solace in ABBA songs and best friend Griffiths. Moving from her home town of Porpoise Spit she begins to find a new life for herself.
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.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Muriel: A Woman After My Own Heart, June 7, 2002
By 
C. Shook "msshrink" (Pawcatuck, CT United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Muriel's Wedding [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Although I don't have a penchant for shoplifting, pathological lying or frankly caring what the OTHER girls think, I was hooked on Muriel Heslop, hook, line and sinker. She epitomizes so many of the issues that young girls who are growing up while also painfully growing OUT deal with, and yet, as other reviewers have commented, she puts the pretty, slim girls to total shame. They seem to have everything she wants: a trim figure, a handsome (but usually cheating) boyfriend or husband, an upper middle class living, etc., but they don't have the heart of our Muriel.
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.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A WONDERFUL film that deserves a better DVD., March 10, 2003
By 
This review is from: Muriel's Wedding (DVD)
Muriel's Wedding is a movie I fell in love with when I first saw it years ago. The tale of Muriel is one EVERYONE can relate to on some level, being the outsider looking in. Muriel's life is surrounded by people who take advantage of her nature and belittle her for their own dissatisfaction. Muriel convinces herself that marriage will change her, make her accepted, and thus give her the acceptance she craves. Her realization that changing her world starts with changing herself is real, raw, and thoroughly enjoyable. It resonantes with individuality.
Toni Collete is absolutely charming as Muriel. I can't BELIEVE she is the same woman who was in sixth sense...her talent is unbelievable! Collete embodies Muriel with many humanistic quirks that make her a real character and bring the film it's endearing nature.
The DVD quality leaves a lot to be desired. I would KILL to have this released with commentary or outtakes. But, as it is, it's completely worth owning just because it can and should be watched whenever you need a feel good flick to pick up your spirits.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dreams can come true if you're true to your self, October 29, 2003
By 
Ian Muldoon (Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Muriel's Wedding [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Our heroine Muriel, dumpy, suburban, open, guileless, trusting, who has a corrupt Dad, an oppressed Mum, two siblings who are variously lazy and stupid, falls in love with and marries her dream "man" - what else but a white, blue-eyed blonde South African born swimming champion who is the quintessence of selfishness, self aggrandisement, vanity, and shallowness - but finds "true" love in friendship with her crippled buddy played superbly by Rachel Griffith. Some stupendous and memorable moments, one being when Muriel's mother sets fire to her backyard with its Hills Hoist in its centre. Funny, touching, and great feel good movie. Peopled by some terrific characters. The ABBA scene is a gem! One to own and revisit.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How Movies Should Be Made, March 22, 2006
By 
A. Spurlock (Las Vegas, NV USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Muriel's Wedding (DVD)
Want to see key differences between U.S. and international fimmaking? Rent or buy both this movie and My Best Friend's Wedding-they have the same director! Yet you will see the American one (MBFW) with shallow character development, and no risk taking on characters with flaws (notice how everyone has great high paying jobs?). The character of Muriel at the end of her movie and her process of "letting go" of her old life is much more poignant and yet realistic than Julia Robert's character "letting go" by "letting" her best friend marry someone else.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming Through and Through, August 24, 2002
This review is from: Muriel's Wedding [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Vaguely reminiscent of England's Sixties hit Georgy Girl, which starred Lynn Redgrave, this Australian gem tells the story of a walking disaster...Muriel, a big-boned girl with a penchant for wearing the most hideously unattractive clothes, and getting herself into one social embarrassment after another.
Muriel has two obsessions: getting married (and this is an obsession like no other), and the music of ABBA. Sometimes the two things become entertwined in her good-hearted but truly baroque mind. In order to obtain her goal of being a bride, Muriel leaves her ordinary family in Porpoise Spit, and journeys to Sydney, where she takes up with wild woman Rachel, the type who goes to bed with two men at once, one black, one white. In this type of atmosphere, Muriel flourishes in a sense, but one has to see it to believe it.
This film is so enchantingly delightful and offbeat that it manages to include spinal cancer, wheelchairs, suicide, and philandering as just part of the plot. And the wonder of it is, that the viewer accepts it all with a great big smile!
This charming movie is one to watch again and again. It's a true delight.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sublime Comic Study of Inadequacy, Cancer and Suicide, February 10, 2005
This review is from: Muriel's Wedding (DVD)
Muriel, who is in her twenties and has never had a boyfriend or a proper job, lives in the miserable Australian small town of Porpoise Spit a life whose bleakness is relieved only by her beloved old Abba records. The film begins at the wedding of one of the horrendous shallow women she thinks are her friends. She catches the bouquet but is firmly asked to hand it to someone else because, well, "Who would ever want to marry you?" Then she spots one of the bridesmaids shagging the groom in a back room. Then the police come round and arrest her for shop-lifting: the dress she is swearing appears to be stolen. Then it just keeps getting worse.

This is just wonderful. It's a grotesquely dark comedy about everything that is grim and vicious and ugly and awful in human life. It's set in a world people by a gallery of magnificently drawn dysfunctional characters so vivid and perfectly realized it is one of very few films for which the adjective `Dickensian' is altogether apt. But while it's a comedy about some appallingly messed up people the comedy it is hugely compassionate and never cynical or cruel - at lest except when dealing with Muriel's unspeakable high School peer group, self-styled beautiful people, who, unlike all the other characters, show no sign of insecurity or self-doubt and are quite cruel enough themselves to be due a little cruelty in turn.

Toni Colette's performance as Muriel has been widely praised to the skies and rightly - it's altogether perfect, very funny and very truthful. But every performance is superb: Bill Hunter and Jeanie Drynen as Muriel's very human but hopelessly failed parents; Gabby Millgate as her sister - she has almost no lines except repeated utterances of `You're terrible, Muriel' but she utters this so magnificently she steals her every scene; and Rachel Griffiths, magnificent and hilarious as Rhonda whose deep and genuine friendship is to be Muriel's salvation. The darkness of the comedy if perfectly judged. There are scenes so grim they don't really seem to belong in any sort of comedy and scenes that are impossibly, side-splittingly funny and the fit between the two is one of seamless harmony. And indeed, in many ways this is not such a dark film at all: it's an ultimately optimistic and unbeat - but entirely unsentimental - vision of the possibilities life may hold even for people who think, as Muriel does, that they are `useless' or `nothing'.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Australian Classic, July 26, 2000
By 
Rob (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Muriel's Wedding (DVD)
In the tradition of Strictly Ballroom and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Muriel's Wedding continues the idiosyncratic, character driven films of 90's Australia. On the surface Muriel's Wedding is a comedy but it is a comedy with a sharp edge and a black underbelly. Toni Collette is superb as the frumpy and dreamy Muriel Heslop. With a burning ambition to be wedded and a passion and joy for ABBA music, she takes us on a quest to eventual self-acceptance and self-respect. Along the way we get to laugh with her, cry with her and above all we are privileged to share her love for life.
Featuring a superb support cast (Bill Hunter, Jeannie Drynan - superb as Muriel's tragic mum, Rachel Griffiths and Sophie Lee)it is hard to fault any performance except for the slightly wooden Daniel La Paine. PJ Hogan directs with a love for his characters and an understanding and appreciation of suburban backwater 1990's Australia. Standout scenes include the ABBA contest, Muriel's attempt at being seduced on a beanbag and any scene featuring the superb Jeannie Drynan as Muriel's mum. Muriel's journey from Porpoise Spit to the bright lights of Sydney are a journey many of us have made in many ways and and on many personal levels. In Muriel we have a heroine that we can love and laugh with. It is great to see the wonderful Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths go on to greater Hollywood success with The Sixth Sense and The Other Sister. A fine example of PJ Hogan's work before directing My Best Friend's Wedding. You're wonderful Muriel!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific comedy-drama from Australia, April 21, 2000
By 
Bill Jones (Lemon Grove, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Muriel's Wedding [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Life should be as wonderful as an ABBA song. Unfortunately for Muriel Heslop (Toni Collette) it's not. Chunky, disliked by her so-called friends ("You bring us down"), stuck in the not-happening town of Porpoise Spit, in a family where her father calls everyone "useless" and her mother seems lost in depression, Muriel can only escape to her room and listen to her favorite group, ABBA (their infectious, dance-pop hits permeate the soundtrack). A secretarial school reject, Muriel has but a single goal in life: marriage.
"I'm going to get married and I'm going to be a success," she tells her mother, right before stealing the family's money and blowing it on a vacation with her "friends" who did not invite her, and are shocked and angered that she's followed them. She doesn't find a husband on the trip, but she is reunited with Rhonda (Rachel Griffiths), a plucky high school acquaintance, and the two strike up a real friendship.
Written and directed by P.J. Hogan (a name to watch), "Muriel's Wedding" seesaws rapidly between comedy and tragedy. The film won Australia's equivalent of our Best Picture Oscar. And Toni Collette (who reportedly gained over 40 pounds for the role) picked up their Best Actress award. (Funny how Robert De Niro's weight-gain for "Raging Bull" was so much more publicized and admired.)
I really liked how Muriel transforms herself here. Both on the inside and outside, she just gets more beautiful as the film progresses to it's strong conclusion.
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Muriel's Wedding
Muriel's Wedding by P. J. Hogan (DVD - 2011)
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