Thursday, June 16, 2011

Muriel's wedding film techniques essay

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English essay Muriel’s Wedding


In the film Muriel’s wedding film techniques are used to express the themes of the film. Muriel’s wedding portrays traditional themes such as relationships between family and friends, the need to belong and the transformation or coming-of-age through classic film media; music, costume, camera angles, actors cast and setting. The film was designed as a comedy, but with serious moments to keep the story down to earth. P.J. Hogan, the director of Muriel’s wedding has succeeded in creating a humorous yet meaningful movie, winning best film of 14 from the Australian film institute.


Music is used as the main film device in this movie. The main character, Muriel Heslop, has a childish obsession with the 80’s pop group ABBA. This music occurs frequently and addresses the theme of Muriel’s transformation into a better person. At the beginning of the movie, when Muriel is at her lowest, she listens to ABBA in her room as an escape from reality. Her bedroom is covered with bridal pictures and ABBA posters, with a child’s pink tape player blasting out “dancing queen” as Muriel sings solemnly along.


As the movie goes on ABBA’s music is played in times of anticipation of change or to represent Muriel’s longing for her transformation. Standing outside the bridal shop Muriel looks up at the wedding dresses, with a look of desire, as an orchestral version of “dancing queen” is played. It creates the mood of Muriel’s awe at the majestic scene of the bridal gowns for the audience. Again at Muriel’s wedding to David Van Arkle ABBA’s music is used to give the audience a taste of Muriel’s absolute ecstasy in regards to her marriage. Before Muriel enters to walk down the isle, a women sings “Ave Maria” an older, religious song. As Muriel enters this calm, beautiful scene the music stops, then sounds “I do, I do, I do”, a very poppy song by ABBA. David’s reaction to Muriel’s song choice is “oh Christ, oh god” but Muriel doesn’t seem to notice his distain for her as now, in her eyes, she is a real person.


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The actors cast and the acting style used all represent the characters being portrayed. Muriel who is a loser in the beginning is overweight with yellow teeth and limp hair. Her mother also is overweight, showing her status in the family and her pathetic character. The four girls cast are thin and attractive, with faces lacking in individuality, with exception of the main girl, Tania. They’re acting style is over the top and very stereotypical of that kind of superficial person.


Costume used in this film is very relevant to the time. The four “friends” of Muriel in the beginning of the movie; Tania, Cheryl, Janine and Nicole, are good looking and dressed very fashionably. Muriel however is dressed in large, printed dresses, not hiding her weight problem, with high pony tails and bright red lipstick. She is dressed at the height of bad fashion and stands out from the crowd, especially among her friends. This addresses the theme of Muriel’s need to belong and friendship; the importance of friendships to Muriel and how superficial the four girls are.


Nicole and Cheryl comment on her clothes in scene 11, where the girls have decided to tell Muriel she is not welcome to hang out with them anymore “…It’s you. We’ve told you a thousand times how to wear your hair but you never listen”, “You never wear the right clothes” and “You embarrass us”. Muriel, feeling that she is the one who is lacking something and wanting to belong, replies “I know I’m not normal but I’m trying to change. I’m trying to become more like you…” This shows how important it is to Muriel to have friends and belong to a social group, thinking she is not “normal” for not being liked by these girls.


The costumes of Muriel’s mother, Betty in comparison to Muriel’s father’s mistress, Deidre shows Muriel’s father, Bill, breaking away from his family to a more presentable lifestyle. Betty is dressed in track pants and big shirts, while Deidre in tight high collared dresses with too much makeup. Throughout the movie, Muriel’s costume changes, showing her transformation. In the first scene she is very overweight, wearing a short leopard print dress and gold hoop earrings. She stands out from the crowd as very unattractive and ever more so from the four girls, who are all dressed in fluffy, pink bridesmaid dresses. As the movie goes on she loses weight and begins to dress better, especially after her new friendship with Rhonda.


She moves to Sydney with Rhonda, changes her name to Mariel and loses some weight. She is soon asked out on her first date by Brice Nobes, an equally clueless boy who asks her out at the video store while she is working. She believes this to be a sign that she has changed and is not worthless anymore. As the movie goes on, Muriel becomes more honest with herself, gets over her bridal obsession and realises the true value of her and Rhonda’s friendship. By the end of the movie she is significantly thinner, wearing a well fitting blouse and skirt and looking much more attractive, in comparison to the four superficial “friends” who are dressed in hot pants, tight singlets with teased hair and too much makeup.


The costume also portrays Muriel’s individuality. Throughout the whole film she stands out from the crowd, while the four girls all dress and look very similar. By the end of the movie and Muriel’s transformation she is far more attractive as an individual than the girls are.





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