Recommended by Nicole Twinam – JAC Press and Marketing Assistant

  • Australia: 1994
  • Cert: 15 / 101 minutes
  • Director: P. J. Hogan

Australian comedy films are some of my favourites, and there are so many I could recommend, (‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ and ‘Strictly Ballroom’ spring to mind) but I think that ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ might be my favourite. Australian indie-comedies of the mid-to-late nineties and early ‘noughties’ have a very specific blend of off-beat characterisation, wit and heart that I find completely charming, and this film is a perfect example of this special sub-genre.

Toni Collette, in a very early role, plays Muriel Heslop, a socially awkward hanger-on, whose so-called ‘friends’ don’t like her, and whose dysfunctional family doesn’t know how to connect to her. She finds solace in the music of Abba, and dreams of the perfect wedding to the perfect man. When she meets Rhonda (Rachel Griffiths) on a doomed-from-the-start girls holiday, she finally finds a friend who likes her quirky personality, and she no longer needs to pretend to be someone else.

What comes next might include theft, life-changing injuries and family drama, but ‘Muriel’s Wedding’ still manages to be wonderfully uplifting and laugh-out-loud funny. It is also incredibly quotable:

“You’re terrible Muriel…”