Wayne Blair’s ‘Top End Wedding’ wows the critics at Sundance

‘Top End Wedding’

Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding has been hailed by reviewers at the Sundance Film Festival as a charming and funny cross-cultural romantic comedy which deals with love and family and second chances.

Produced by Goalpost Pictures’ Rosemary Blight and Kylie du Fresne and Kojo’s Kate Croser, the film co-written by Miranda Tapsell and Joshua Tyler was also praised for its depiction of Indigenous Australians and culture.

Tapsell plays Sydney lawyer Lauren, who is engaged to fellow lawyer Lee (Gwilym Lee). Their wedding plans are disrupted when Lauren’s mother Daffy (Ursula Yovich) walks out on her husband Trevor (Huw Higginson), leaving a cryptic note and her mobile phone. They have 10 days to find her and to pull off their wedding amid the chaos.

Universal will launch the film in Australia on May 2 after taking over eOne’s theatrical marketing and distribution in April. Films Boutique is handling international sales.

The key crew includes DP Eric Murray Lui, editor Chris Plummer, production designer Amy Baker, costume designer Heather Wallace, composer Antony Partos, sound designer Robert Mackenzie and casting director Kirsty McGregor.

Screen International’s Sarah Ward said: “This crowd pleaser fits the wedding film mould, largely compiled from recognisable parts and adhering to a familiar template. Yet it does build charmingly and convincingly towards a well-earned emotional payoff.”

Sezin Koehler, who blogs at Black Girl Nerds, hailed the film as the most refreshing romantic comedy she’s seen in years, observing: “Not only does it rely on hilarious physical and situational comedy — there is no punching down humour here at all — its snappy writing is witty and intersectional. But what’s even better: This is a story about an Indigenous woman and her family that does not rely on horrific trauma and violence to drive their backstory.

“There is so much I loved about this movie and its inclusivity. There’s an overwhelming presence of non-toxic, nurturing masculinity…We don’t always need to rehash men’s bad behavior to call them out.”

Chicago-based critic Danielle Solzman, who blogs at Solzy at the Movies, found the film charming and funny and praised the smartly written screenplay and the representation of Indigenous Australians and culture.

“In many ways, this film is about a journey of rediscovery,” she said. “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.”

Uproxx’s Vince Mancini likened the tone to a cross between My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Crocodile Dundee and found it pretty corny, but concluded: “There’s a cultural richness to it, a wonder in the sound of the languages being spoken, and a beauty of place that you won’t find in many movies.”