Muriel’s wedding is a tragic-comedy film written and directed by P.J Hogan. This Australian film conveys various aspects related with change. The main concepts of change seen from this movie are change in perspective and in attitude within the persona, ensuing from the understanding of whom you are and how to get there. Muriel’s wedding reveals these concepts through Muriel’s discovery of herself, and realizing that real life still continue to possess different trials that needs be overcome in order to achieve real growth.
Muriel Heslop, a hopeless romantic, overweight girl who lives in Porpoise Spit, Australia, with her parents and four siblings. Muriel lives her life in the fantasy world of Abba song and dreaming about getting married. She thinks that getting married is the best way for her to find the perfect happiness. Muriel’s character is not that positive. She has a low self-esteem and she looks herself as useless being. She lies, she steals and even tries to change her own identity, but in the end, she realized that all the things she had done would not give her the happiness her looking for.
Muriel life in Porpoise Spit is miserable. Her relationship to her family is quite undesirable. Bill Heslop, Muriel’s father, is a corrupt politician who is completely despicable man. He always tries to impress people with his connection and still manage to find his time to degrade his family. His slogan “You Can’t Stop Progress” but he manages to stop the progress of everyone in his family, by labeling them as useless and embarrassment, except for Muriel.
On the other side, Betty, Muriel’ mother, a painstakingly frightened woman who is treated by her children l and husband like a slave. Like Muriel, her mother was also arrested for stealing. Betty looked to be very lonely and unattached to reality herself because she gets all the blame from Muriel’s father for Muriel stealing their money. Betty died, a speculated suicide, after Muriel’s father wants to have a divorce to live with someone he is having an affair. Both Muriel and her mother appeared to have a lot in common as far as the ability to separate their selves from reality.
Another major character in the film was Rhoda, an old friend of Muriel from school that she meets on the trip. They both to get along with each other, then, Muriel realized that now she has more confident in herself and found someone who can call her a real friend. Rhoda has her own problem, she has a cancer and confined on a wheelchair and having her own crisis identity. Although Muriel and Rhoda are always having fun, still Muriel is unhappy because she really thinks that getting married will give her the prefect happiness. So, with the help of Rhoda, Muriel change her identity by changing her name to Mariel.
Then, eventually, she got married to an Olympic swimmer who only needs to have an Australian passport. Muriel think that she got the best option because she thinks that she’s hitting a bird in one stone, living in her fantasy of being a bride and wife and at the same time getting money to pay her father back. This perception of Muriel is like a “falsification of view”; that being a wife is all that she needs because her parents will also be happy, and at the same time, she can live her friend.
But when Muriel’s mother died, she came into realization that everything she’ve done really doesn’t give her the happiness she is looking for. She also realized that she never loved her husband at all. She wants to stop lying. She don’t want to “Mariel” anymore which she created when she was in Sydney. She ended up finding again her happiness in Sydney by helping her friend, Rhoda. She too helped her father realize the mistakes he had made with them. All these she did through discovering her identity (happiness). She no longer needed to be “Mariel”, Muriel found herself, Muriel. She was always there inside herself not knowing she was inside because she was just too busy looking inside of her fantasy world.
Ebert, Roger.Muriel’s Wedding.March,1995. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19950317/REVIEWS/503170304/1023
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