Muriel’s Wedding is like Cher, Friends and Messina ice cream: it’s practically impossible not to love it.
So the staging of it was always going to be a daunting task; cultish fans feel an ownership over this story, which came out in a truly golden year for Australian cinema (1994 – the same year as Priscilla, Queen of the Desert).
The biggest challenge the documentary charts is casting its leading lady; despite three strong contenders, whose pitch-perfect auditions wow you, the sense is Muriel just hasn’t been found. At this rate, the film’s legion of loyal gay fans will get their weddings before Muriel gets hers.
But when the star, the instantly likeable Maggie McKenna, is cast we get an insight into her own personal anxiety: “I’ve always questioned if I was getting parts because of my mum. I know I’ve worked really hard and if I can just do my job, that’s all I can hope for.”
The mum in question is Kim, of Kath and Kim fame. But one watch of this documentary (and the astoundingly good musical) leaves the viewer in no doubt why she got the part. You can’t stop prowess.
Making Muriel will air on ABC & ABC iView Sunday Nov 26 at 7:40pm.
Reviewed by Gary Nunn.