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Read: Top End Wedding is the kind of Aussie film we need to see

Top End Wedding is billed as a romantic comedy, but that description doesn’t really do the film justice. Although it is funny and at times light hearted, it will challenge your notions about Australian history and its indigenous people. 

Essentially it’s about a Lauren (Miranda Tapsell), an attractive indigenous woman living in Adelaide with her handsome English boyfriend Ned (Gwilym Lee).  Just as she gets a promotion, he quits his job and then proposes to her. There’s a catch though as Lauren’s tough-as-nails boss Hampton, (Kerry Fox), will only allow her ten days off to get the whole thing done.

The couple tear off to Darwin to sort it all out, and discover they need to find Lauren’s mother who has gone missing.

In terms of plot and characters, it’s a fairly typical romantic story. There are the usual stereotypes such as difficult in laws; supportive but ditsy friends; and lots of confusion and wacky antics.  Yet Top End Wedding also does something a little different – it weaves in Lauren’s indigenous culture in a way that is perfectly natural, profoundly deep and incredibly touching.

The only criticism I had of the film was that in the first half hour it seemed a little contrived. The comedic moments a touch over done. This  seemed particularly true of Gwilym Lee’s portrayal of Ned, who to begin with, was a little wooden and overplayed his delivery of one liners. As time went on however, the film and all the actors seemed to settle into the rhythm of the film and developed a very satisfying story. 

This is a universal story about family dynamics and grief that shows the healing power of love and identity. Best of all, by bridging  aborigine and western culture beautifully and seamlessly showed that showed that both can be woven together to create a compelling story with real heart.

TOP END WEDDING

In cinemas 16 May 2019

Top End Wedding

113 Minutes

Starring – Miranda Tapsell, Gwilym Lee, Kerry Fox, Shari Sebbens, Ursula Yovich, Huw Higginson

Director – Wayne Blair 

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