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Muriel's Wedding

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Subject: Toni Collette, ABBA, Rachel Griffiths, Vincent Ball, List of Australian films
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Muriel's Wedding

Muriel's Wedding
Canadian theatrical release poster
Directed by P. J. Hogan
Produced by Lynda House
Jocelyn Moorhouse
Written by P. J. Hogan
Starring Toni Collette
Rachel Griffiths
Bill Hunter
Sophie Lee
Music by Peter Best
Cinematography Martin McGrath
Edited by Jill Bilcock
CiBy 2000
Film Victoria
House & Moorhouse Films
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
29 September 1994 (1994-09-29)
10 March 1995 (1995-03-10) (United States)
Running time
106 minutes
Country Australia, France
Language English
Budget $9 million[1]
Box office $57.5 million[2]

Muriel's Wedding is a 1994 Australian comedy-drama film written and directed by P. J. Hogan. The film, which stars actors Toni Collette, Rachel Griffiths, Jeanie Drynan, Sophie Lee, and Bill Hunter, focuses on the socially awkward Muriel whose ambition is to have a glamorous wedding and improve her personal life by moving from her dead-end home town, the fictional Porpoise Spit, to Sydney.

The film received multiple award nominations, including a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy (Collette).


  • Plot 1
  • Production 2
  • Cast 3
  • Release 4
    • Critical reception 4.1
    • Box office 4.2
    • Accolades 4.3
  • Soundtrack 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


A socially awkward, overweight, naïve "ugly duckling", who is obsessed with the music of ABBA, Muriel Heslop (Toni Collette) is the target of ridicule by the more fashion-conscious girls she considers her friends. She also is a perpetual daydreamer who yearns for a glamorous wedding and marriage to a man who will help improve her personal life and free her from a tedious life dominated by her demanding and often psychologically abusive father Bill (Bill Hunter), a corrupt politician who verbally lashes out at his subservient wife Betty and their unambitious children at every opportunity.

After Bill discovers Muriel has used a blank cheque to steal money to finance a vacation at a tropical resort, she leaves her family in the coastal town of Porpoise Spit, Queensland to set up house in Sydney with her carefree, hedonistic friend Rhonda (Rachel Griffiths). In Sydney, she follows her dream, only to discover life's realities. Although ostensibly a comedy, Muriel's Wedding deals with serious issues. The overriding theme of following one's dream is regularly punctuated by scenes depicting the disappointments and loss of self-esteem that frequently accompany the quest.


The film used Coolangatta as the locale for Porpoise Spit. Other filming locations included Moreton Island, Darlinghurst, the Gold Coast, Parramatta, Surfers Paradise and Sydney.

For the role of Muriel, Toni Collette gained 18 kg (40 lb) in seven weeks.[3]



Critical reception

Muriel's Wedding received positive reviews from critics and has a "certified fresh" score of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 40 reviews with an average rating of 6.8 out of 10. The critical consensus states "Heartfelt and quirky, though at times broad, Muriel's Wedding mixes awkward comedy, oddball Australian characters, and a nostalgia-heavy soundtrack."[4] The film also has a score of 63 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 14 critics indicating 'Generally favorable reviews'[5]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times said the film "is merciless in its portrait of provincial society, and yet has a huge affection for its misfit survivors... [it] has a lot of big and little laughs in it, but also a melancholy undercurrent, which reveals itself toward the end of the film in a series of surprises and unexpected developments... The film's good heart keeps it from ever making fun of Muriel, although there are moments that must have been tempting."[6]

Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle stated, "With such recent hits as Strictly Ballroom and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Australia seems to be cornering the market for odd but delightful comedies laced with substance and romance. The latest, Muriel's Wedding, is another bright, occasionally brilliant, example... The movie is much meatier than its larky comic sheen leads you to think at first... There's poignant drama in this brash, sometimes overstated film, and Muriel's transformation is truly touching."[7]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called it "exuberantly funny... a crowd pleaser that spices a tired formula with genuine feeling... In the final scenes, when Hogan dares to let his humor turn edgy, Collette's performance gains in force, and Muriel's Wedding becomes a date you want to keep."[8]

Box office

Muriel's Wedding grossed $15,765,571 at the box office in Australia.[9]

The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 1994 and opened in Australia the following month. It earned US$244,969 on 14 screens in its opening weekend in the US and eventually grossed US$15,119,639 in the United States.[10]


Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
(1994 AFI Awards)
Best Film Lynda House Won
Jocelyn Moorhouse Won
Best Direction P. J. Hogan Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Actress Toni Collette Won
Best Supporting Actor Bill Hunter Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Jeanie Drynan Nominated
Rachel Griffiths Won
Best Editing Jill Bilcock Nominated
Best Sound David Lee Won
Glenn Newnham Won
Livia Ruzic Won
Roger Savage Won
Best Production Design Paddy Reardon Nominated
Best Costume Design Terry Ryan Nominated
APRA Award Best Film Score Peter Best Won
BAFTA Award Best Original Screenplay P. J. Hogan Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Toni Collette Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Most Promising Actress Nominated
Chicago International Film Festival Mercedes-Benz Audience Award P. J. Hogan Won
FCCA Awards Best Actor - Female Toni Collette Won
Best Supporting Actor - Female Rachel Griffiths Won
Writers Guild of America Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen P. J. Hogan Nominated


The music of ABBA forms the backbone of the film's soundtrack. Songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson allowed their use in the film and permitted one of their hits, "Dancing Queen", to be adapted as an orchestral piece as long as the band received a percentage of the film's profits.

Additional popular tunes heard in the film include "Mamma Mia", "Waterloo", "Fernando", and "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do", all performed by ABBA; "Sugar Baby Love" by The Rubettes; "The Tide Is High" by Blondie; "I Go to Rio" by Peter Allen; and "Happy Together" by The Turtles.

See also


  1. ^ "Muriel's Wedding (1995)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 
  2. ^ IMDB. "Muriel's Wedding Box Office". IMDB. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Thise, Mark (2008). Hollywood Winners & Losers A to Z. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 35. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^  
  7. ^ Stack, Peter (17 March 1995). "Seeking Bliss, Muriel Finds Herself Instead / Sweet 'Wedding' comedy has substance".  
  8. ^  
  9. ^ Film Victoria - Australian Films at the Australian Box Office
  10. ^ "Muriel's Wedding (1995) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. 1995. Retrieved 31 January 2010. 

External links

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