TL;DR – Joyous, Funny, Beautiful, and Moving.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
As a guy, it might not be kosher, but I love a good romantic comedy, one that you can sit back, laugh, but also be moved by the characters. However, this is a genre that has kind of been on the backburner in recent years with only Crazy Rich Asians being the one to come to mind when I think of good works to draw from. Today, thankfully, I get to add another film to this list with the joy that is Top End Wedding.
So to set the scene, we open in on a couple living in Adelaide who are both having very important days. Lauren (Miranda Tapsell) is having her first major client meeting and if it goes well she will get a promotion for the firm she works in under Hampton (Kerry Fox) who is often referred to a Cruella. Meanwhile, Ned (Gwilym Lee) is trying to live up to his father’s memory in the courtroom but finds the job difficult because he has no passion for it. Well, Ned decides to quit his job and proposes to Lauren, the only catch is that Hampton will only give Lauren 10 days off for the wedding, as in the next 10 days, and Lauren has always dreamed of having her wedding in Darwin where she is from. While this should be easy to put together, things take a turn when she arrives home to find her father Trevor (Huw Higginson) and mother Daffy (Ursula Yovich) had recently separated and no one knows where her mother is.
a movie like this, it lives and dies on its characters because you need to
connect with them and want them to succeed. Miranda and Gwilym have amazing chemistry
together and even though their characters have two different energies you feel
like they are the perfect couple because they work so well together (like a
number of real-life couples I know). Ned is this overly boisterous, sort of
impulsive character that lives in his father’s shadow and is not sure how to
cope with that. Lauren is determined to make her way to the top but she is full
of hope and joy and nervousness. They have this beautiful bond that makes you
just go with it when they decide to have the wedding in ten odd days. They are
also surrounded by a fantastic supporting cast that makes the most of every
The story could have been just about these two wonderful characters trying to get a wedding together in such a short amount of time and it would have been perfectly fine, but Top End Wedding is not looking to be perfectly fine it is looking to be more than that. Because Lauren’s mum is missing Ned decided that it would be best to go find her, thinking this to be some sort of equivalent to a mid-life crisis. However, it is more than that, which is where the important part of the film begins to shine. As a white man, I can’t really attest to if they captured that part of Indigenous life correctly, but given who wrote and directed the film I respect them get this side of the film right.
of the things that I really liked about the film is how it played on a whole
range of emotions. There is the awkward nervousness as both Ned and Lauren are
about to have their biggest day. There is the joy of meeting old friends and immediately
jumping back in time to your youth. There is the craziness of trying to get a
wedding sorted in such a short amount of time. There are the full-on belly laughs
when things go hilariously wrong. The amusingly super Australian moments like
when they run into a Spotlight to get fabric. But more than all this there are
those beautiful moments that left me in tears.
I really liked how Top End Wedding showed off the beauty and the danger of the top end. In one of the first locations shots, we have the sun setting in all the many reds of the country only for there to be a little silhouette of a crocodile going for a swim. There are these moments that take your breath away, like taking a boat up a gorge in The Kimberleys. Indeed, it might be the best tourism ad that Australia has put together in a long time. I will say that one thing that didn’t quite work was the constant use of depression as being the but of a joke that was played out more times than it should have. Also, there is a Hen’s Night sequence that might be a bit too risqué for you, but that will depend on the person.
In the end, do we recommend Top End Wedding? Of course, we do. It is Joyous, Funny, Beautiful, and Moving. It is about family, it is about culture, it is about understanding our past and fighting for the future. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me really want to visit the top end at some point in my life.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow
Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
Have you watched Top End Wedding?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Top End Wedding
Directed by – Wayne Blair
Written by – Miranda Tapsell & Joshua Tyler
Music by – David McCormack & Antony Partos
Cinematography by – Eric Murray Lui
Edited by – Chris Plummer
Production/Distribution Companies – Goalpost Pictures, Screen Australia, Universal Pictures & Entertainment One
Starring – Miranda Tapsell, Gwilym Lee, Huw Higginson, Ursula Yovich, Kerry Fox, Shari Sebbens, Tracy Mann, Matt Crook, Julian Garner, Elaine Crombie, Dalara Williams, Taylor Wiese, Nick Buckland, Travis Jeffery & Rob Collins
Rating – Australia: M;