Muriel's Wedding

March 10th, 1995


Muriel's Wedding

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Still of Toni Collette in Muriel's WeddingToni Collette, Roz Hammond, Bill Hunter, Belinda Jarrett and Sophie Lee in Muriel's Wedding

Muriel finds life in Porpoise Spit, Australia dull and spends her days alone in her room listening to Abba music and dreaming of her wedding day...

Release Year: 1994

Rating: 7.1/10 (17,134 voted)

Critic's Score: 63/100

Director: P.J. Hogan

Stars: Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Bill Hunter

Muriel finds life in Porpoise Spit, Australia dull and spends her days alone in her room listening to Abba music and dreaming of her wedding day. Slight problem, Muriel has never had a date. Then she steals some money to go on a tropical vacation, meets a wacky friend, changes her name to Mariel, and turns her world upside down.

Sophie Lee - Tania Degano
Roz Hammond - Cheryl (as Rosalind Hammond)
Toni Collette - Muriel Heslop
Belinda Jarrett - Janine
Pippa Grandison - Nicole
Bill Hunter - Bill Heslop
Jeanie Drynan - Betty Heslop
Dan Wyllie - Perry Heslop (as Daniel Wyllie)
Gabby Millgate - Joanie Heslop
Gennie Nevinson - Deidre Chambers
Rachel Griffiths - Rhonda Epinstalk
Matt Day - Brice Nobes
Chris Haywood - Ken Blundell
Daniel Lapaine - David Van Arkle
Susan Prior - Girl at Wedding

Taglines: A Story of Love, Laughter and the Pursuit of Matrimony, everyone is invited!

Release Date: 10 March 1995

Filming Locations: CentrePoint Tower, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Box Office Details

Budget: $3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross: $57,500,000 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The name of Muriel's fictional fiancée, Tim Simms, is has resonances (perhaps unintentional or even subconscious) with the names of two Australian food items - Tim Tams (a chocolate-coated biscuit, or cookie in US English) and Dim Sims (a pseudo-Asian meat dish).

Continuity: When Brice is on top of Muriel on the sofa, Muriel's arm changes from by her head, to gripping Brice's arm.

Muriel: When I lived in Porpoise Spit, I used to sit in my room for hours and listen to ABBA songs. But since I've met you and moved to Sydney, I haven't listened to one Abba song. That's because my life is as good as an Abba song. It's as good as Dancing Queen.

User Review

Incredibly Moving Performance by Toni Collette

Rating: 10/10

Where do you go and to whom do you turn, when it's time to emerge from adolescence and get on with your life, but you find yourself incapacitated from having had your self esteem methodically peeled away year after miserable year by a brutal father who has convinced you that you're worth less than a piece of garbage a dog wouldn't touch? That's the story of Muriel Heslop (Toni Collette), a young woman who, along with her brothers and sisters, has been mercilessly and ceaselessly denigrated and publicly humiliated by her father, Bill Heslop (Bill Hunter), seemingly since the day she was born, in `Muriel's Wedding,' directed by P.J. Hogan. Bill Heslop is a local councilman in the less-than-thriving city of Porpoise Point, Australia. In the eyes of those who don't know him, he's a great man, a hero even; and he's definitely a legend in his own mind. But in his own home he doles out psychological abuse relentlessly-- and the sad thing is, he does it seemingly without realizing what he's doing. Muriel, out of school, but so unsure of herself that she's unable to wrench herself free of the dominating Mr. Heslop, escapes into a world of ABBA songs and daydreams of her own wedding, which she perceives as being the ultimate reward-- the thing that will finally bring her happiness and give her life meaning.

Not surprisingly, Muriel has some problems to work out before she can even think of making a change that will turn her life around. Her lack of self esteem has rendered her socially inept, overweight, slow witted and incapable of making a decision. And as far as the wedding that will change everything-- well, Muriel has no boyfriend, never has had one, and there are certainly no prospects on the horizon. Her dream of being ABBA's `Dancing Queen,' is about as remote as pigs that can fly. Muriel does have friends, however; four girls she knows from school, one of whom just got married, into whose lives she basically imposes herself in a last ditch effort to find acceptance any way she can. Then one night, even they tell her not to come around them anymore, that she is an embarrassment. And for Muriel, it's the final straw that drives her to do something desperate. Something that will ultimately change her life forever.

That it is billed as an `Hilarious comedy about friends, fun and unexpected surprises' and `Hysterically funny,' makes you wonder about the marketing machinery of the entertainment industry. Is it a funny movie? Yes, it is; just as life is often funny, even when it's at it's worst. Hilarious? Yes. All of which seems contradictory to the story that is at the heart of the film. And yet, it's those very contradictions, those same multi-layered complexities of which life is made, that makes this such a wonderful movie. On one hand, Bill Heslop is one of the most despicable characters you'll ever encounter in a film; and on the other, Muriel is one of the most sympathetic. The humor of this film is derived from the natural and very real situations in which the characters find themselves. And just as there is something within us all that at times allows us to laugh at the misfortunes of others (perhaps occasionally born of a `better you than me' mentality), there are things you're going to laugh at in this film. But as you sit back and watch as one misery upon another is heaped upon Muriel, you'd have to be either an unfeeling person or a sociopath not to be crying at least on the inside, even if you're laughing on the outside. There are times when you just want to reach out to Muriel and let her know that one way or another, everything is going to be okay.

Toni Collette (in her second film) gives an incredibly moving performance as Muriel, making her about as real as a character can get. She conveys so much through her body language and facial expressions alone, that you can feel the torment and the turmoil she keeps bottled up and buried deep within herself, without ever having to hear her speak a word. Anyone who's ever known even a moment of misfortune in their life will be able to relate to her. Unwittingly, she wears her feelings on her sleeve; not that she wants to, but when your cup of adversity finally overflows, it's going to show. And it takes a special actor to play a character like this and make her so convincing, without taking it over the top or into the gray planes of melodrama. And Collette is that actor. She's perfect in this role, and she had to be for this film to work. Anything less than a perfect counterpoint to the character of Bill Heslop would've quickly derailed this project, and the humor alone wouldn't have done the job. All of the tricks, jokes and funny lines in the world wouldn't have been enough to overcome that very real sense of loathing Bill Hunter brings to the role of Heslop.

The supporting cast includes Rachel Griffiths (Rhonda), Sophie Lee (Tania), Rosalind Hammond (Cheryl), Belinda Jarrett (Janine), Pippa Grandison (Nicole), Jeanie Drynan (exceptionally effective as Betty, Muriel's mother) and Daniel Lapaine (David). In one of the most uplifting scenes you're ever likely to see in a movie, Muriel and Rhonda lip-sync to ABBA's `Waterloo,' which in the screenplay probably came across as something fun but rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But on the screen, it becomes a moment that is absolutely transporting. And that's the magic of `Muriel's Wedding.' It takes you into the dark, but never allows you to languish there; ultimately, it takes you into the light, and when it does, it's brighter than anything you could imagine. I rate this one 10/10.


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