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Film Review: Top End Wedding

Director:    Wayne Blair

Cast:    Miranda Tapsell, Gwilym Lee, Huw Higginson, Ursula Yovich, Shari Sebbens, Kerry Fox, Travis Jeffery, Elaine Crombie, Matt Crook, Atmiya Patel, Taylor Wiese, Dalara Williams, Tracy Mann

Rating:    M

Running Time:    103

Australian Distributor:    Universal Pictures


‘Top End Wedding’ stars Miranda Tapsell (‘The Sapphires’, TV’s ‘Love Child’) and Gwilym Lee (Bohemian Rhapsody, ‘The Tourist’) who get engaged, and when given 10 days off work, pack their bags to make a quick trip back home to the Northern Territory to have the wedding of her dreams. But when she arrives, her mother has gone missing, sending her not only on a journey to find her mum, but also on a journey of self-discovery into her Aboriginal culture. 

Tapsell and Lee have fantastic chemistry. Their engagement happens in the first 5 minutes, and it really goes to show how good they work together are as a pair.  A key ingredient for most Australian films to succeed outside of our shores is international talent. It’s a golden rule that applies to all genres and we’ve seen countless foreign stars light up our screens; going back as far as the classic They’re A Weird Mob. The added ingredient in this instance is Lee. It can make a huge difference.

There is also that fact that the film is a huge deal for representation for Aboriginals in Australian media. It’s very great to see Aboriginal Australians and their customs get the spotlight on the big screen. This is especially true late in the film.

As well as telling a story about two cultures coming together, it also explores themes of disconnection and reconnection, as it delves into a subplot of her mother’s exile from her homeland. This additional layer of depth proves to be the film’s core strength, allowing non-indigenous viewers to fully identify with the characters as they, themselves, struggle with aspects of their own heritage.

The comedy in the film is terrific, and the film is generally so rich in its background cast, partly because a lot of the extras are real people from these communities, but also everyone that Lauren and Ned meet in the NT are so memorable.  The running joke about Chicago’s song “If You Leave Me Now” and a string of charming visual gags lights up the screen.

The movie is very crowd-pleasing. It fills with joy and sentiment. The whole cast is so charismatic and delightful. The passion for the characters – especially Tapsell, who also wrote and produced – leaps off the screen and right into your heart.  It deserves a good reception.




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