There’s more than `human love’ on show in the Australian romantic comedy Top End Wedding. The Northern Territory also has a starring role.
The Tiwi Islands, Kakadu, Arnhem Land and Nitmiluk/Katherine Gorge are just some of the beauty spots highlighted in Wayne Blair’s (The Sapphires) latest movie.
Top End Wedding starts in 1976 on the Tiwi Islands, where we see a young girl racing away from her wedding and jumping on a fishing boat. We later discover that girl is Daffy (Ursula Yovich), the mother of Adelaide lawyer, Lauren (Miranda Tapsell).
Under the watchful eye of her demanding boss, Hampton (Kerry Fox), Lauren is progressing quickly in the corporate world – unlike her boyfriend Ned (Gwilym Lee) who, unbeknownst to Lauren, has just quit his job as a public prosecutor.
When Ned proposes Lauren accepts, but she insists they marry in Darwin. This presents a problem – Hampton will only give Lauren 10 days’ leave. On arriving in Darwin, Lauren discovers her mother has left the family home and her father (Huw Higginson) is distraught.
Given Lauren won’t marry without her mother in attendance, Ned decides he and Lauren should go and look for her. The film then follows the couple’s road trip which takes them to iconic Northern Territory tourist destinations, brings them into contact with several of Lauren’s relatives and nearly leads to their break-up. Needless to say after several comic exploits and soul searching all ends happily ever after!
The family reunion and wedding scene on Tiwi Island is one of the highlights of Top End Wedding. The scenery is another highlight. Along with Tapsell (who also co-wrote the film and is associate producer) the movie features several Indigenous actors including Shari Sebbens, Elaine Crombie and Dalara Williams as Lauren’s bridesmaids, along with various locals – including the Tiwi Women’s Choir Ngarukuruwala. This adds an authentic touch to illustrate the importance of family and cultural tradition in the Australian Indigenous community.
While Top End Wedding suffers from some predictable innuendo and typical ‘Aussie’ responses, it does provide a few laughs and beautifully showcases some of the Northern Territory’s top tourist attractions.
Top End Wedding is showing in movie theatres around Australia from May 2.
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