Muriel finds life in Porpoise Spit, Australia dull and spends her days alone in her room listening to Abba music and dreaming of her wedding day. Slight problem, Muriel has never had a date. Then she steals some money to go on a tropical vacation, meets a wacky friend, changes her name to Mariel, and turns her world upside down. Written by
Quirky, Uneven Film with Outstanding Lead Performances
The film has a biting satiric edge to it & offers a refreshingly unsentimental, non-judgmental portrait of a young woman deemed a loser by both "friends" and family. Toni Collette is magnificent as Muriel, capturing the character's wide range of emotions, from the oblivious to the gushingly enthusiastic. Collette is solidly paired with Rachel Griffith; the two come across as long-time buddies. The open-faced surrealistic sarcasm of the film is in key places undermined by melodramatic tragedies (reminding me of the turkey "Terms of Endearment"), but at least these solemn moments are treated in an un-Hollywood, non-mawkish fashion. This is a fascinating, memorable film.
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