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My Fiancé is Greek and I am not. This move hit the nail on the head!
The whole time I was watching this movie I was thinking this is my life
Oh my God this is my life. I think people who gave this move bad
reviews just didn't get it, because, they are not around or live inside
the world of a Greek family. There are so many similarities to my
Fiancés family it's almost creepy. For a crasher course to our wedding
I told my whole family to watch this movie before they came. After the
wedding was all said and done I had so many people from my side of the
family came up to me and tell me your RIGHT! It was just like my Big
Fat Greek Wedding!!! Especially since we had almost 700 people at our
wedding and all we did all night long is dance in circles!!! It was a
lot of fun!
This was the best movie in a long time and no one knows how true this movie really is until they live through it.
This film is a celebration of life steeped in tradition, family, love and
just the joy of living; and it invites you to come in and participate in
that celebration, rather than leaving you on the outside looking in, as it
were, merely as an observer. A film that seemingly welcomes and
passionately embraces all that is good and worthwhile in the world, `My Big
Fat Greek Wedding,' directed by Joel Zwick, will make you laugh and make you
cry, but most importantly, it will make you `feel.' It's one of those rare
cinematic experiences that afterwards makes the sky seem bluer, your step a
bit lighter and a smile easier to come by; and when a film can do all of
that, you know you've come across a bona fide treasure that you're going to
hang onto for a long, long time in your memory.
Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) is thirty years old, lives with her parents in Chicago and works in the family restaurant, `Dancing Zorbas.' Every facet of her life is imbued with all things `Greek,' and by proclamation long since issued by her father, Gus (Michael Constantine), Toula is bound by all that is `holy' (read: `Greek') to marry a Greek, live a Greek life and bear many Greek children. For her to even think of doing otherwise would be unfathomable, unthinkable, unimaginable and, well...'UN-Greek.'
So it becomes something of a conundrum for Toula when she meets and becomes interested in a man named Ian Miller (John Corbett), a guy who is decidedly NOT Greek in any way, shape or form. But he asks her out, and one thing leads to another and then another, but before Toula will allow things to get seriously out of hand, meaning `serious,' she knows she must run up the flag, take a deep breath and tell her father. And for Toula, it just may be the hardest thing she's ever had to do in her life. Ian, meanwhile, is about to experience culture shock, as he is about to be confronted by a family that includes, for example, twenty-seven first cousins, something Ian isn't quite used to; after all, he has `two' of his own, and they live in another state.
The screenplay was written by star Nia Vardalos, adapted from her own one-woman show, and it fell into capable hands when she turned it over to director Joel Zwick, who picks up the rhythms and the `sense' of the story without missing a beat. Falling into step with his star, Zwick crafts and delivers a film that is totally immersed in the zest and zeal of living. Under his astute tutelage, the viewer becomes a part of Toula's life, sharing that grand heritage of which Gus is so proud. He brings the story and the characters to life with detail and nuance, and in such a way that your senses will kick into full throttle. The images he creates are so vivid, and it's such an engaging presentation, that the vitality he generates is almost tangible, and you can smell the lamb and all of those Greek delicacies cooking in the kitchen. And Zwick sets it all in motion by establishing a pace that will sweep you along with the story; a carousel ride that will keep you involved and smiling all the way to the end.
Nia Vardalos certainly captures the essence of all that is `Greek' with her story, and with her affecting performance as Toula. This is a young woman you get attached to very quickly; there's something of Benny, from `Circle of Friends' about her, as well as Muriel, from `Muriel's Wedding.' It's a character your heart goes out to immediately, one to whom you wish all good things will come. There is an introspection to her portrayal that contrasts effectively with her vigorously outgoing environment, and it makes her presence all the more dominating and singular. And it's actually in the reserve Vardalos exhibits in her character that the viewer finds the way inside to Toula's deepest longings and emotions. Without question, this is a complex individual, in whom we find not only the strength necessary to maintain autonomy (which she manages to do within the greater structure of her family), but vulnerability born of the respect she demonstrates toward her father, her family and the traditions they so lovingly serve. It is this very complexity, in fact, that elicits the necessary empathy of the audience, enabling that vital connection between the viewer and Toula. And Nia Vardalos IS Toula, from the ground up and from the inside out. Moreover, one would be hard put to discern any distinction whatsoever between the actor and her character, as her performance is entirely natural and genuine.
As Toula's mother, Maria, Lainie Kazan is a delight. The character she creates is totally credible, and she's just a joy to watch. And the same can be said of Andrea Martin's performance as Aunt Voula. This is a VERY Greek woman who is boisterous, overtly self-assured, opinionated and dominant; and she will win you over in an instant. It is Maria and Voula that add some real spice to the film, and when you add in Gia Carides (who plays Nikki) to the mix, you've got a Greek feast fit for the gods.
Of all the actors in this wonderful cast, however, the one who absolutely steals `My Big Fat Greek Wedding,' is Michael Constantine, who has the role of his career in Gus, and without question, makes the most of it. From his overabundance of Greek pride to his many and varied personal peccadilloes (like his ever-present bottle of Windex, which he is convinced can cure everything from a minor scrape to the common cold), he simply gives the performance of a lifetime; and if there is any justice in the whole `Greek' world, Constantine-- and this film-- will be duly remembered at Oscar time. It's the magic of the movies. 10/10.
If you're of Greek descent like me, then you'll appreciate and relate to the very funny (but exaggerated) tendencies and idiosyncrasies of the Greek Portokalos family. Nia Vardalos plays the bride-to-be. John Corbett the groom-to-be. She's Greek, he's not. That's where the fun begins as Michael Constantine her father is not happy her daughter is marrying a "stranger"(a non-Greek). Constantine shines as he portrays a very protective, caring, loving father. The movie was superbly cast. The movie is of light fare, great for the entire family. Can't help to think that this would have made a great TV series. Sort of a Greek "All in the family". I understand a sequel is already planned titled "My Big Fat Greek Baby". If you're Greek, go and laugh at my family, your family, our family. If you're not, go and just laugh at us. Great fun!
An extremely good little film that shows that smart ideas, good writing, solid direction, likeable characters and an engrossing story will always win out in the end. Nia Vardalos stars as a Greek woman who just seems a bit out-of-place in her not always normal life. She is shy, reserved and ashamed of her heritage. Some makeup, a few college classes, stylish clothes and a travel agency job away from her father's restaurant are just the tickets to help her come out of her shell. Soon high school teacher John Corbett is entranced by her and they start a sweet love affair. Naturally she keeps the secret from her parents (Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan) and the sparks fly when they eventually find out. They want their daughter to marry a Greek man and have lots of children, but Vardalos has other plans for her life. Corbett's love knows no bounds though as he makes it clear that she is the one he really wants. "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" happened due to good timing and lots of luck. Vardalos was struggling when Tom Hanks' wife (Rita Wilson) went to see the small play that the film is based upon. Wilson happened to see an advertisement for the show in the newspaper one day (the only day Vardalos could afford to run an ad) and the rest as they say is history. The film cost very little to make and usually second-rate director Joel Zwick ended up running the show. Vardalos' screenplay (Oscar-nominated) was the catalyst that put the film on the map and kept it there permanently. Most all the extras are real family members of Vardalos and Ian Gomez (who plays Corbett's best friend) is actually her husband in real life. Easily one of the most successful films of all time financially speaking (based upon the bargain basement cost and the astronomical showing at the box office), "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" is a wholesome film that the whole family can enjoy. It is another one of those rare films that feel like it was made during Hollywood's Golden Age of the 1940s. Not quite excellent, but dangerously close. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a very simple, funny romance story that would
probably be most appreciated by female audiences.
Nia Vardalos (the film's writer and star) is Toula Portokalos, a quiet young woman from a zany Greek family. As she explains in the great flashback introduction, all her life she has been brought up to be strictly Greek. But, the same upbringing also contains some traditional absuridites that she can't understand, although her parent's wish that she would adhere to. Toula's upbringing has only allowed her to look forward to one thing at this point in her life: get married to a nice Greek boy and have lots of babies.
This is not something Toula wants to here, and eventually, she gains the courage to break out of her introverted shield and gradually change herself into a bold, lovely woman. She stops working at her family's resturaunts and starts taking computer classes at the local college, which lead her not only to a better appreciation for herself, but leads to a job at her aunt's travel agency where she meets Ian Miller (Jon Corbet), and that is where our story begins.
Toula and Ian are in love, really very much so. But, this troubles Toula's mother and father, with her father (Michael Constantine) being more strict in traditional Greek upbringing than her mother (Lanie Kazan), when Ian proposes to Toula. For Toula's father, it is bad enough that she quit the family business to go to school and everything. But it is simply out of the question for him that she marry a non-Greek. So, Toula is torn between the two. This is a movie very much in the spirit of films like Bend it Like Beckham and somewhat like the Joy Luck Club in addressing roles of tradition in future generations of immigrants and the possibility and reason for preservation of such traditions.
Of course the film is a very simple movie, a simple love story, but a funny one nonetheless. We see the contrast between Toula's Greek upbringing, and Ian's very quiet, conservative family. Everyone was fantastic in this film, especially Lainie Kazan as Toula's mom, Michael Constantine as her father, and the wonderfully hilarious Andrea Martin as Toula's Aunt Voula.
I don't know the reason for so many negative reviews for this movie. I would say it was probably the best movie I saw in 2002, and one that I have seen many times since just because it a lovely little (and funny) story about a girl in love.
I have seen many movies in the past year, some have been wonderful and
some have been downright terrible. My Big Fat Greek Wedding has to be
one of the best written and best acted comedies I think I have seen in
a long time. While the concept of making a movie about weddings is not
unique, I believe that those of us who either have gone through
planning a wedding or have experiences with family having too much
influence in our lives will relate to this movie better than other
This movie is about an ordinary rather plain looking thirty something unmarried woman who comes from a large extended Greek family. All Greek women are expected to go to Greek school, find a good Greek man, marry him and have lots of Greek babies according to the narrator who is also the main character in the movie. This simple premise is what sets us off in almost two hours of raucous humor centered around planning a wedding where a couple coming from completely different backgrounds has to deal with all the external pressures that happen when two people decide to go down the aisle together.
This movie has several very heartwarming and somewhat emotional scenes in it so don't expect it is just a funny movie. Acting in this movie on all characters was very well done and very believable. I thought however that the roles of the Grooms Mother and Father were rather flat and two dimensional. This movie reminded me quite a bit of Father of the Bride starring Steve Martin, except in this case, the writers for Monty Python obtained the script for final treatment. While the writers for Monty Python did not actually write this movie but was instead written by the leading lady, there were some moments where it appeared that the humor was drawn right out of a book of British comedy. All in all I felt that the whole movie had a British feel to it.
This movie will delight you and leave you with a smile on your face. While the audience in the theater was more of an adult composition, I do not remember any nudity or adult language in the entire picture which means this movie is one that the whole family can see together. I would wholeheartedly recommend this movie to anyone who would like a good laugh.
This was a very pleasant surprise. Frankly, I was avoiding it because I
thought it was going to be too tacky for my taste. It turned out that I
needed some of the Windex, the father of the bride uses for everything, to
clear my eyes and enjoy the film.
Nia Vardalos has written from the heart this story of a crazy Greek family with all the stereotypes in it for us to savor and enjoy what has come out under the firm direction of Joel Zwick.
Not only is Ms. Vardalos talented as an actress, but she can write quite a story, star in her own tale, and bring together this cast of loonies and make us believe we are inside these folks' home.
Michael Constantine and Lanie Kazan are the parents of the bride and they preside this crazy household in Chicago. Nia Vardalos is the "ugly duckling" we see at the beginning of the film and she wins John Corbett's heart and disarms him completely. He got her family in the bargain and he's stuck in it for better of for worse. Andrea Martin is very effective as the pushy aunt.
All in all, it should be seen for the fun of it. This is a funny film, very well paced and acted.
Please pass the Windex!!
*Nice romantic-comedy about a Greek-American girl which has to fight
against her family's strict traditions in order to marry a non-Greek
boy. I think that, for the Greek people, this movie must be full of
topics and stereotypes, but for the ones who don't know about Greek
ways of life is pretty funny. There are all kind of weird characters
(the grandma!!!), and the starring actress makes an outstanding job
showing us the metamorphosis of that timid girl to a liberated one.
Nice dialogs, nice rhythm... Just a nice entertainment for a Saturday
*My Rate 6/10
'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' is a lovely film. There is absolutely nothing
wrong with it. It is not an extremely good film but it just doesn't go wrong
anywhere. The story is simple. Toula, played by Nia Vardalos, is 30 years
old and still single. Her family is Greek so she must marry a Greek.
Unfortunately for her family she falls in love with Ian Miller (John
Corbett), definitely not a Greek. He falls in love with her too and so the
only thing in the way is family.
The people in the movie are all nice people in their own way. Although Toula doesn't like her family is Greek in every single way, and is too proud of it, she does love her family.
'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' is a very enjoyable film, with a lot of funny moments. You know everything will turn out good so it will make you feel better as well.
This is a such a nice and entertaining movie. As in David & Layla
directed by Jalal Jonroy, My big fat Greek Wedding too celebrates the
love and cultural differences. Love, humanism, comedy, romance all are
in that great film. My Big Fat Greek Weddeing brings people from
different background closer and shows how important to accept the
'other' as other in order to be just happy! Being a migrant poses
different problems and the individuals some times have to defy their
original traditions and cultures to be able to love or be happy. In
particular Greeks are very keen on and proud of their traditions and
cultures (rightfully). I like the films which provide some insight and
understanding of different cultures, or of individuals inner world. In
this term My Big Fat Greeek Wedding does the job. That is why it is a
very captivating film along with being funny enough to make you laugh
even after you left the movie theater. I also recommend Mansoon
Wedding, Bend It Like Beckham and David & Layla for the movie lovers.
devrim kilic editor of www.kurdishcinema.org
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