The rom-com genre has been conspicuously absent from the Australian film scene. Either Hollywood does it all too well or we see them as too cliche for our culture. Whatever the reason, the fact that thriller and crime genres have permeated every minute of our free-to-air, streaming and cinematic experiences, it’s a pleasure to have this film to feel good again and let go.
The makers of the successful The Sapphires reunite for Top End Wedding, a coming together of love, family and belonging, showcasing the natural beauty of the Northern Territory. Spearheaded by main star Miranda Tapsell and writer Josh Tyler, it is a heartwarming and fun journey, threading together some of Tapsell’s own stories.
Successful lawyer Lauren (Tapsell) is climbing the corporate ladder. The film opens on the cusp of a fateful meeting that will either make or break her career. Her ambition is measured with her eagerness, a stark contrast to her cold boss Hampton (played by Kerry Fox). As she pushes herself further and further, Lauren risks alienating her fiance Ned (Gwilym Lee) unless she commits to a date for their wedding. But there’s a condition: Lauren wants to married back home in the Territory.
Being called back in to the office in the early hours of the morning, precipitates an unusual heart-to-heart with her boss. Hampton softens to grant Lauren 10 days off work to organise her wedding. The clock starts ticking and with Ned and her girlfriends, Lauren hits the road back home.
Arriving at her parents’ house, Lauren walks into to a scene of disarray. She learns that her mother is AWOL and her father, Trevor (a superbly morose Huw Higginson), is grief-stricken. His coping mechanism involving band Chicago is comically tragic. Picking up the pieces, Lauren has to find her mother or the wedding can’t happen.
She and Ned embark on the search; their travels unearthing memories of Lauren’s childhood, family traditions, secrets and hilarious characters.
Top End Wedding will make you reflect on your own relationships in an affirming way. It’s also accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack, re-introducing some good old tracks and Indigenous artists to newer generations.
Top End Wedding opens nationally tomorrow.
About Top End Wedding
Directed by: Wayne Blair
Written by: Josh Tyler
Stars: Miranda Tapsell, Gwilym Lee, Kerry Fox, Huw Higginson, Ursula Yovich, Elaine Crombie