‘Top End Wedding’ Is A Slight Rom-Com But A Rich Pastoral Of Indigenous Australia

Senior Editor
01.31.19 8 Comments

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Every so often you see a movie, and it isn’t a great movie per se, but it’s filled with enough interesting people and places that you don’t entirely mind. A story can be an adventure, sure, but sometimes just being transported to a place and seeing the sights is adventure enough.

Top End Wedding takes place, fittingly enough, in the “top end” of Australia. You know, the part of the Scooby Doo head above the ear, that’s closer to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia than Sydney, that no one ever seems to talk about? Yeah, that part. We tend to think of Australia’s north and interior as a vast, uninhabited place, which is true enough, relatively speaking (Australia is one of the most urbanized countries in the world), but also comes as news to the people who actually live there.

Top End Wedding begins in 1976, in the Tiwi Islands (just north of the island of Australia and administratively part of the Northern Territory) where a young bride has ditched her traditional wedding ceremony and escaped on her aluminum (AL-yoo-MINI-yum) fishing boat with the entire wedding party chasing behind. Presumably, she’s off to the mainland.

Flash forward to the present, and a young adult aboriginal girl in a business suit is having a wacky mishap with a cruller. She gets powdered sugar all over her nice suit and wouldn’t you know it breaks a heel for good measure. If only she had some Mentos. We soon come to understand that this young professional is the runaway island bride’s daughter, Lauren, played by Miranda Tapsell (an Australian TV star who also co-wrote the script). Lauren is about to be engaged to another young professional, a lanky, tastefully bearded white lawyer named Ned, which is a name that Australian men still have nowadays (Ned is played by Gwilym Lee, Gwilym being a name that Welsh men still have nowadays).

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