Muriel's Wedding

1994

Action / Comedy / Drama / Romance

55
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 78%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 85%
IMDb Rating 7.2 10 31235

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Toni Collette as Muriel Heslop
Rachel Griffiths as Rhonda Epinstalk
Daniel Lapaine as David Van Arkle
Richard Carter as Federal Policeman
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
760.47 MB
1280*720
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 46 min
P/S 1 / 14
1.45 GB
1920*1080
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 46 min
P/S 2 / 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Robert McElwaine 8 / 10

A neat balancing act of comedy and bitter-sweet drama from P.J. Hogan

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 young ladies go on a night out on the town; 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 that she defrauding of her own parents, the latter knack for theft being something she inherited all too well it may seem 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 out what with our young heroine exhibiting her love for Abba in a comically theatrical moment of tawdry showiness. But it does does work for the most part and when it needs to it and 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.

Reviewed by captainsilverink 3 / 10

Dated and cringe-worthy

As if the weird gross gender roles weren't enough, the movie has that gross 90s Aussie cringe, akin to other garbage fests like The Wog Boy.

Dancing Queen plays like, five times throughout the movie.

Other humor is pretty dated, including a crude joke about the apartheid.

Reviewed by Angel Youles 9 / 10

A film about a woman with a dream...

And that dream is to get married, well she does not really want to get married. However, she wants to have a wedding and wear a gorgeous white dress! What woman doesn't? But there's a deeper meaning behind her desire to wed. 22 year old Muriel who leaves in Porpoise Spit in Australia, she is lost in the world after high school, she does not know her place or has any real goals. She spends her time listening to 70s Abba music and dreaming of the one goal she does have... her wedding day... but she's never been in love however desperately wants love from those around her.

Muriel and her sister are told to be worthless by their father, a councilor in Porpoise Spit, who wants to see them achieve greater things for themselves. However, he doesn't know the weight of those words, especially the effect it has on Muriel's self esteem. She is shy natured and thinks poorly of herself. You can see this come out later in the film when she changes her name to "Mariel" and says "she never wants to be Muriel again." because she thinks she's a loser.

Muriel is also rejected from being part of a group of popular girls that went to her high school, she is called "embarrassing and fat." and she tells them that she'll try to be like them, but they reject her suggesting that she'll never change and regardless will still be who she is... and this is the underlying theme to the movie.

Muriel wants acceptance and love from everybody however does not love and accept herself, until she meets Nicole on a holiday in which paid for by stealing money from her parents. Nicole is a friend she has always desired, who accepts and loves her for who she is and also enjoys Abba! Her confidence boosts after her Holiday. To avoid the consequence of stealing money she moves in with Nicole and her parents assume her missing and want her to come home.

Nicole sadly becomes ill and needs Muriel's assistance all the time. Which Muriel does for her however here is still a part of Muriel that is lost and unfulfilled and she believes this will be solved through having a wedding of her own. She abandons her friend and searches through the ads for men who want to find women to marry.

She meets a man who only wants to marry to keep up his reputation, he is quite stuck up and even mean to Muriel, but it doesn't bother her because it is about her fulfilling her dream and not love.

On her wedding day, she walks down the isle with a beautiful and elegant wedding dress with the biggest grin on her face, however the camera pans across the people at her wedding, who do not seem happy for her at all, their faces are bitter or of people who do not care, except for the popular girls, who now want her back as a friend.

Soon after she's married, she realizes that she has been denying herself that truth and she cannot go on living a lie. So she leaves her husband. Muriel realizes that no one was happy for her because her happiness does not depend on others, she does not need people to love and accept her but she needs to do so for herself and this is a really beautiful character change, the film ends with Muriel apologizing to Nicole and happy as just herself and where she is in life and its heart warming! and it's great underlying message in which this film has.

Toni Collette is a brilliant actress, I'm convinced even more so after watching this film. Her performance the way she delivers Muriel's expressions and nature makes the character seem like a very real person! You can tell she really put her heart and soul into this performance and that's what makes a great actor.

I would very much recommend this to anyone who loves movies.

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