A young social outcast in Australia steals money from her parents to finance a vacation where she hopes to find happiness, and perhaps love.A young social outcast in Australia steals money from her parents to finance a vacation where she hopes to find happiness, and perhaps love.A young social outcast in Australia steals money from her parents to finance a vacation where she hopes to find happiness, and perhaps love.
There is no life in Porpoise Spit for Muriel. So after a couple of catastrophic embarassments and a chance meeting with an old school chum and fellow outcast she moves to Sydney. There she reinvents herself and discovers that despite what has been said about her and some pretty bad things she has done she is still a good person. Muriel stumbles on the way but finally frees herself (as does her mother) from the oppression of her hometown, her father, and her life.
Muriel isn't a totally likeable character. She steals, lies, and at one point does a perfectly terrible thing to her only friend. In the end however, Muriel recognizes that despite her shortcoming, physical and spiritual, she isn't the worthless creature her classmates and father have told her she is. To the credit of the filmmaker's they didn't do a complete remake of Muriel in the film to make her a beauty at the end. She gets a better hair cut but for the most part the improvement on her looks comes from within.
Muriel's father on the other hand is a completely despicable man. A local politician who tries to impress everybody with his connections he also put considerable effort into the degradation of his wife and children. His motto, the same as the town of Porpoise Spit, is "You Can't Stop Progress" but he manages to stop the progress of everyone in his family except for Muriel.
This is a very enjoyable film and a good example of the idea that a movie doesn't have to be a big Hollywood production to be great. I'm glad that it was produced in Australia. If it had been done in France then Hollywood would have done a remake in English and probably ruined it.
- Jun 21, 1999