Sundance 2019: Top End Wedding

Miranda Tapsell appears in Top End Wedding by Wayne Blair, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by John Platt.

Top End Wedding is a fun and entertaining romantic comedy that takes advantage of the sights that Northern Australia has to offer.

Imagine you’re engaged to get married but soon learn that your mother left your dad.  This is what happens to Lauren Ford (Miranda Tapsell).  Newly engaged to Ned Pelton (Gwilym Lee), the two of them fly to Northern Australia in order to start the process of wedding planning.  Well, the Top End of Australia if we want to be precise.  Upon seeing that her parents’ house is a mess, Trevor Ford (Huw Higginson) informs his daughter that Daffy (Daffy Ford) has left him.  That’s one heck of a way to rain on your parade.

At this point, they only have ten days to not only find her but somehow manage to pull off their wedding amid the chaos.  Easier said than done, am I right?  This is where the script starts to aim for a mix of romantic and road trip comedy.  It’s not so easy to find Daffy.  Yeah, Lauren and Ned keep finding clues about where she is.  Some of these are just laugh-out-loud funny.  Slowly but surely–amid the usual will they or won’t they breakdown of the relationship–Lauren finds her mom and learns just why she left.  It’s a one of those sentimental reasons so nobody could really blame her for doing so.

The cliched airport scene late in the film plays out much differently than American romantic comedies.  But yes, the rule of three in comedy films very much applies.  I won’t say much more than this but the pay off is very much worth the effort of hearing Ritchie Valens’ classic song, “La Bamba.”  It would have been very meta had filmmakers opted to give have Ned’s ring tone be a Queen song.  Now that I think about it, it’s a missed opportunity.

In many ways, this film is about a journey of rediscovery.  In Lauren’s case, this means learning more about her roots.  Don’t get me wrong, there are still many aspects of this film that play out like a comedy of errors.  I think there’s enough here that even American audiences can appreciate.  I give a lot of credit to Joshua Tyler and Miranda Tapsell–she doesn’t just star but also co-wrote the script–for coming up with a smartly-written screenplay.

The other thing that Top End Wedding has going for it is the Indigenous representation.  It’s very great to see Aboriginal Australians and their customs get the spotlight on the big screen.  This is especially true late in the film.

Both charming and funny, Top End Wedding reunites much of The Sapphires team to give us another delightful treat.

DIRECTOR:  Wayne Blair
SCREENWRITERS:  Joshua Tyler and Miranda Tapsell
CAST:  Miranda Tapsell, Gwilym Lee, Huw Higginson, Ursula Yovich, Shari Sebbens, and Kerry Fox

Top End Wedding holds its world premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in the Premieres section. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

One thought on “Sundance 2019: Top End Wedding

Comments are closed.