I have to confess, I have not really seen many Australian films. In fact, the last one I vividly remember was The Castle and that seems like a lifetime ago. So when I was given the opportunity to attend the Melbourne Premiere of Top End Wedding, I leapt at the opportunity to see it and I’m glad that I did.
Directed by Wayne Blair, Top End Wedding is set as a classic romantic comedy with an Aussie twist starring the beautiful Miranda Tapsell as Lauren, a hardworking newly promoted corporate lawyer and Gwilym Lee as Ned, a British ex-pat who although is unsure of his own future as a lawyer, knows that he wants to spend the rest of his life with Lauren. On the same day that Lauren is promoted, Ned proposes. Determined to be married back home in Darwin, the newly engaged couple head off back to Lauren’s hometown, only to discover her mother has gone walkabout.
Yes, as a romantic comedy it ticks off all of the boxes; it makes you laugh with the classic Aussie humour, it makes you cry both happy and sad tears, and it pulls at your heart strings. But this films is so much more than just a romantic comedy – it is a story of self-discovery and reconnecting with your roots. Set in our beautiful ‘Top End’, Lauren and Ned embark on a mission to locate her mother. A journey that puts their own relationship to the ultimate test.
Living on the high of the exciting next step in their relationship, Ned puts everything on hold to help the love of his life scour the countryside for Lauren’s mother. Despite the couple’s bliss, it all comes crashing down when they are stranded in the middle of the outback and he drops a bombshell regarding his career. Lauren chooses to leave him behind and heading off on her own, while Ned returns to Darwin to discover his soon-to-be father in-law, Trevor is in the middle of the wedding planning.
Distraught from the unexpected departure of the love of his life, Lauren’s father, Trevor played by Huw Higginson, is determined to get his wife back. With the help of Lauren’s high school mates, Trevor finds solace in his mission to make his daughter’s wedding work. Seeing it as one last romantic gesture that will win back the heart of his best friend and soulmate. There are lots of little relationships in this film that make you smile and cry at every turn. But for me, the defining moment is Lauren’s return home.
Not only is Miranda Tapsall the shining star of this film, but she also co-wrote this beautiful feature. As a proud Indigenous Aussie, she has poured all of her heart and soul into this masterpiece. Top End Wedding’s beautiful story perfectly showcases our stunning country and indigenous culture. Not many films have been able to achieve this and Top End Wedding does so effortlessly. I believe the addition of locals from the Tiwi Islands is the icing on the cake and gives the story and element of realness that a lot of other films miss the mark on.
I adored Top End Wedding. It moved me to tears and as a local, I am proud to call this masterpiece an Australian film.