Film Review – Muriel’s Wedding (1994)

Muriel Heslop (Toni Collette) has nothing. She hangs around with the popular girls from school although they hate her hanging around, she lives at home with her family, her dad is a failed politician and her mum constantly lives in a haze of depression and regret. Her siblings are useless as well, but Muriel always knew she could do better if she was just given the chance. Then one day Muriel gets a chance to work for a cosmetics company and is told to bring some blank cheques to the bank in the name of the company – and that’s where Muriel sees her chance. Taking out a large sum of money Muriel goes on holiday, to the place where her school ‘friends’ are going and that she had been uninvited. However, that’s where she meets Rhonda Epinstalk (Rachel Griffiths) and her outspoken, carefree attitude helps bring Muriel out of her shell and into the light where she always wanted to be.

Muriel’s Wedding is the international hit and breakout performance of Toni Collette, an actress who can now be considered one of Hollywood’s finest. Although a very Australian setting with a very Australian cast, Muriel’s Wedding resonated with audiences around the world as it tells an underdog story with heart that takes its protagonist through a journey of self-discovery as she realises that getting everything she ever wanted may not be everything that she needs. Muriel is a character that any woman or man could relate to if they ever felt like they don’t fit in and Toni Collette’s performance is so warm and likeable that it’s hard to be angry at Muriel for long, even when her ego gets the better of her. Plus, Toni Collette’s chemistry with Rachel Griffiths will remind anybody of what it’s like to make a life-long friend.

The script for Muriel’s Wedding is full of laugh out loud moments as director/writer P. J. Hogan makes fun of the characters who are too full of themselves to see what really matters and puts Muriel front and centre of the madness. Muriel’s Wedding puts a smile on audience’s face as much today as it did when it was first released. A timeless comedy classic.

Comedy, Drama | Australia, 1994 | 15 | Amazon Prime / iTunes | Dir.P.J Hogan | Rachel Giffiths, Roz Hammond, Toni Collette, Bill Hunter, Dan Wyllie, Pippa Grandison

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