Muriel’s Wedding

Director: P.J. Hogan
Screenwriters: P.J. Hogan

Institute History

  • 1995 Sundance Film Festival


Muriel is twenty, overweight and, let’s face it, plain. Porpoise Spit, the Australian resort where she lives, is a bit like Miami Beach; the only thing you’re likely to die of is boredom. A suburban wasteland of strip malls and marine parks, where life moves one Tupperware party at a time, it’s no place for a girl of Muriel’s vivid aspirations, no place for a bride-to-be. Yes, Muriel’s wedding would shut up her bitchy friends and free her from her father’s bullying. All she needs is a Prince Charming. While she waits for him, Muriel takes solace in a dream world of bosomy bridal catalogues.

It’s difficult to imagine Muriel’s Wedding without the radiant Toni Collette, who defines Muriel from the instant we see her catching a wedding bouquet, her face aglow with an absurd, ecstatic grin. Similarly, Bill Hunter nails the boorish, white-shoe, petty tyrant father.

Writer/director P.J. Hogan’s debut feature is a bustling blend of wry humor and social satire, a ringing testament to the ubiquity of bad taste. And yet beneath the froth and bubble of its Day-Glo surface, there’s a strange dark edge. The flip side of Muriel’s glittering dreams is a bruising critique of class aspirations and familial dysfunction. But be warned: Hogan is a cagey filmmaker, keen to lay traps for the moralists and Marxists in his audience. Muriel has a few tricks left up her puffy, sequined sleeves.

— Toronto Film Festival

Screening Details

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