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No glib solutions in wedding film...
> My Wedding and Other Secrets
5 stars (out of 5)
Director: Roseanne Liang
Cast: Michelle Ang, Matt Whelan, Cheng Pei Pei, Kenneth Tsang, Katlyn Wong, Celeste Wong, Simon London, Josh Thomson, Todd Emerson
In 2005 Roseanne Liang had a film festival hit with a documentary about getting her Chinese family to accept her New Zealand boyfriend. In My Wedding and Other Secrets (Rialto and Hoyts) she returns to the same story but perhaps goes deeper with this fictionalised account.
On first viewing, My Wedding and Other Secrets seems mere geeky charm with bull-at-a-gate Emily (Michelle Ang) determined to have everything she puts her super-strength-spec sights on.
She wants to make films so she tells her parents she is doing an IT degree. She wants James (Matt Whelan) so is suddenly out all hours studying. As long as she comes home every night her parents are none the wiser.
She and James even secretly marry to get the married students allowance. It all seems to be working out, except James hates being a secret.
What makes this superior to your average romantic comedy is the refusal to resort to standard glib solutions.
Emily is bright as a button but frequently emotionally clueless, James seems too good to be true but proves himself no pushover. Best of all, Emily gets her happy-ever-after by growing up, not by making a huge romantic gesture.
Best thing: The greatest joke is that a New Zealand bloke clashes with a culture even more emotionally strangled than our own and emerges as the level-headed voice of romantic fulfilment.
Worst thing: The secondary plots were engaging; you feel let down that they do not get more screen time.
See it with: Your girlfriends for a nice time, then sneak back by yourself to enjoy just how well-crafted it is.
- Christine Powley.