The mid 90s was a golden era for Australian cinema. From cult classics like Strictly Ballroom and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert to the films of Baz Luhrmann and Peter Weir, it seemed actors and directors from down under could do no wrong. Of all the hits that came out around this era, Muriel’s Wedding might just be the most beloved of them all.
Muriel’s Wedding also launched the careers of two major Australian talents. It was the first time international audiences were introduced to Toni Collette, who would go on to become one of the most reliably exciting actresses in Hollywood. Her performance as the socially awkward ABBA fanatic Muriel Heslop is nothing short of a powerhouse, encompassing broad comedy while also suggesting deep reserves of pain and trauma. It was a travesty that she didn’t end up with an Oscar nomination.
Equally memorable is Rachel Griffiths as Rhonda, the kind of instant best-friend you always hope to meet when travelling alone. Rhonda enters the film as a blast of energy, and her relationship with Muriel, though platonic, ends up being the true love story of the film.
The rest of the cast is equally packed out with talented Australian character actors including the late, great Bill Hunter as Muriel’s cruel and corrupt father and a heartbreakingly good Jeanie Drynan as her naive, depressed mother. The film is a fantastic showcase for Australia’s deep well of acting talent, and many of the stars went on to further success on stage and screen.
On this week’s podcast, we discuss our many highlights from the film, including its endlessly quotable script, how the iconic soundtrack almost sounded very different and why this is my actual favourite movie of all time. We also suggest some drinking games, check in with our listeners for their reactions and pitch some sequel ideas – despite my firm conviction that this movie is perfect and absolutely doesn’t need one.
Next week, it’s our farewell episode! *Sob* But we’re going out with a bang as we pitch sequels to not one, but two all-time classic movies! Until then, happy listening and remember – Dierdre Chambers is history’s greatest monster…