Whether it’s Muriel’s, your best friend’s or a big fat Greek one, a wedding is the foundation of a good rom-com, and this charming homegrown offering marries the trusty formula with the stunning natural beauty of the Northern Territory.
Lauren (Miranda Tapsell, who also co-wrote the screenplay) and her UK fiancé Ned (Gwilym Lee, minus his Bohemian Rhapsody wig) arrive in the NT to tie the knot in a hastily arranged ceremony, only to discover that Lauren’s mother has walked out on her crestfallen dad (Huw Higginson), who’s been left sobbing in a cupboard to the strains of Chicago’s If You Leave Me Now on repeat.
Wedding plans are promptly put on hold as the pair hit the road to track down mum. Traversing the scenic splendour of Kakadu, Katherine and the Tiwi Islands, the journey awakens a sense of self-discovery in Lauren as she reconnects with her homeland and people…
A combo road movie, rom-com and fish out of water comedy, Top End Wedding is a passion project for Tapsell that reunites her with director Wayne Blair (The Sapphires) to bring a uniquely indigenous flavour to the northern nuptials. Their big fat love letter to the NT and its traditional owners is as effervescent as the champers that flows on the big day, and while the clichés of the genre are unavoidable (there’s even an airport scene), the story’s fierce commitment to family ties and cultural connections provide a refreshing point of difference.
The winning chemistry between Tapsell and Lee, a host of loveable supporting characters and a panoply of golden sunsets, ochre landscapes and vibrant tribal attire add up to a delightful crowd-pleaser that will leave audiences – and the head of the NT tourism board – grinning.
In cinemas: May 2
Starring: Miranda Tapsell, Gwilym Lee, Kerry Fox
Directed by: Wayne Blair