Monday, July 7, 2014

Muriel's Wedding (1994)


“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.”

            When people say they do not like ABBA I usually understand two things: the band is cheesy and their songs are dated. But on the inside I die a little because ABBA is a hell of a lot of fun to listen to. Their most well known songs, like “Dancing Queen”, “Mamma Mia”, and “Waterloo”, are usually bouncy and upbeat and just a lot of fun. I have listened to ABBA a ton I know their songs inside and out. They really do not get the credit they deserve as musicians and vocalists. Do me and yourself a favor listen to “Knowing Me Knowing”, “One of Us”, and “The Winner Takes It All”, listen to how heartbreaking the lyrics, the vocals, and the music are. ABBA is definitely a lot more than “Dancing Queen.”
            Years ago when I saw Mamma Mia! on Broadway I had heard that it was based off a movie called Muriel’s Wedding. Well, the years went by and life got in the way of me actually looking for Muriel’s Wedding to watch. Thanks to the glory that is Netflix I have finally gotten to watch the movie.
            Muriel Heslop (Toni Collette) lives in the town of Porpoise Spit, Australia. She failed school and has nothing going for her in her life. Her father constantly puts her and her siblings down for being lazy and no good. Muriel’s mother is constantly day dreaming. Muriel daydreams as well. She listens to ABBA alone in her room all day wishing her life could be like their cherry songs and dreams of getting married.
            At a wedding Muriel catches the flowers. The girls whom she thought were her friends are yuppy bitches and are furious with her for catching the bouquet because she does not even have a boyfriend. A few minutes later Muriel is arrested for having shoplifted the dress she is wearing. She tells the cops her mother bought the dress for her but does not say that when she arrives home. Her father is town councilman and talks the cops out of pressing charges against Muriel.
            Muriel is eventually dumped by her fake yuppy friends. They do not want her coming with them on vacation because she will cramp their style. Her father gets her a job selling cosmetics and her mother gives her a blank check to go out shopping for new clothes. Instead of buying clothes Muriel uses it to go on vacation to the island the other girls are going to. Of course the girls are furious when they see her and one of them even throws a drink in her face. Fortunately, things do get better for Muriel on the trip. She meets a girl named Rhonda who actually went to her high school. Rhonda defends Muriel against the mean girls and even outs one of their husbands who slept with one of the girls. One night Muriel and Rhonda dress up like the two women from ABBA and reenact the music video to “Waterloo.”
            When Muriel comes home, her father is furious and almost has her arrested. She decides to leave and go live in Sydney with Rhonda. For a while life is what she has dreamed. She is away from her family and answers an ad in the paper to marry someone so the person can become a citizen. But of course, there are lessons to be learned and not everything goes the way Muriel would have liked.

            Muriel’s Wedding was good but it was not what I had been expecting. I think I had been expecting something light and the story actually turned out to be a bit heavy.  I felt terrible for Muriel living in a family where there was zero encouragement and no one tried to do anything with themselves. All Muriel wanted was to be on her own and get married. She definitely needed to get away from her toxic family. I was not crazy about how she desperately wanted to get married. I guess I did not like it because I am not like that at all. I have more concrete things to worry about in my life then what my place settings will be or the kind of dress I want. That stuff bores me to tears actually. Anyway, Muriel’s Wedding was good but it is not a movie that needs to be seen. Watch the movie if you like 90s chick flick movies. Oh, and also if you love ABBA songs. ABBA songs can make anyone's day brighter.