TOP END WEDDING
(director: Wayne Blair; screenwriters: Joshua Tyler, Miranda Tapsell/from a concept by Tyler, Tapsell, Glen Condie; cinematographer: Eric Murray Lui; editor: Chris Plummer; music: Antony Partos; cast: Miranda Tapsell (Lauren Ford), Gwilym Lee (Ned Pelton), Kerry Fox (Hampton), Huw Higginson (Trevor), Ursula Yovich (Daphne), Shari Sebbens (Ronelle), Elaine Crombie (Dana), Dalara Williams (Kailah), Tracy Mann (Annie), Matt Crook (Robbie), Shaka Cook (Officer Braydon), Tessa Rose (Auntie Bree), Jason DeSantis (Foxxy); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Rosemary Blight, Kylie du Fresne, Kate Croser; Goalpost Pictures; 2019-Australia-in English|Aboriginal|French, with English subtitles when needed)
“The performances were solid, the picturesque location shots were awesome and the story had enough laugh-out-loud comedy to make it pleasing.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Australian director Wayne Blair (“The Sapphires”/”Dirty Dancing”) handsomely helms a traditional rom-com formula film that’s co-written with a fair amount of zaniness by Joshua Tyler and the film’s star Miranda Tapsell. The “top end” in the title refers to the remote Northern Territory of Down Under. Though uneven (parts of the drama are contrived), it’s still mostly agreeable as a multicultural comedy-drama (brightly showing an inter-racial marriage between a native and a non-native) that has some heart.
Top End Wedding opens in 1976 on the Tiwi Islands, where the bride to be, Daphne (Ursula Yovich), has jumped onto a fishing boat and is racing away from her traditional wedding to marry a white man, Trevor (Huw Higginson).
We fast-forward to present time in Adelaide, where the klutzy Aborigine young corporate attorney Lauren (Miranda Tapsell), the daughter of Daphne, has just gotten engaged to her English prosecutor boyfriend, Ned (Gwilym Lee), who has just quit his job without telling her, because of his distaste for it. The couple decide to get hitched within ten days.
Surprisingly, Lauren’s overbearing boss Hampton (Kerry Fox) lets her take off from work for ten days to have a big wedding back at her family’s home on the Tiwi Islands, in the town of Darwin.
The bad news comes when Lauren is back on the Tiwi Islands to tell her mom about the wedding, but she can’t find her. Mom has walked out on her dad and is missing. Dad’s a big fan of the rock group Chicago, as Lauren finds him in the family house in Darwin in his pajamas sobbing on the floor as Chicago’s If You Leave Me Now plays again and again on the record player.
It turns into a road film, which serves to re-connect Lauren with her Aboriginal heritage. It’s played mostly for the laughs, as the parties concerned try to track down the missing mom and get her to the wedding in time.
The performances were solid, the picturesque location shots were awesome and the story had enough laugh-out-loud comedy to make it pleasing.
REVIEWED ON 3/2/2020 GRADE: B