Story

Jill Rose (Geraldine Brophy) and best friend Muffy (Tina Regtien) chase bargains at garage sales. Jill snaps up several bargains for the future wedding of her daughter Cheryl (Holly Shanahan). Meanwhile, Cheryl’s boyfriend, Stew (Ryan O’Kane), has just asked Cheryl to marry him, and she has accepted. But when the time comes to announce their engagement, Cheryl finds herself unable to tell Jill. She fears that her mother will turn the wedding reception into a ‘second-hand wedding’, showcasing her garage-sale bargains. To complicate matters further, Stew tells Cheryl’s father Brian (Patrick Wilson) about the engagement, but Brian is forbidden to tell Jill. Brian has never kept secrets from Jill before, so he’s very uncomfortable.

Gracie Clarefield (Vivien Bell), a long-time work enemy of Jill’s, learns about Cheryl’s engagement and tells Jill. Jill is more hurt than ever before in her life. Both Cheryl and Jill seem unable to put their differences aside until Brian suffers a near-fatal heart attack. Cheryl breaks down. She tells her mother that she has hired a very expensive reception, which she and Stew can’t afford.

Jill and Cheryl mend their relationship, and Jill takes over the wedding planning. Jill raises funds by selling her treasures, and the whole community pitches in for a perfect wedding.

Themes

Keeping secrets; family relationships

Violence

This movie contains some violence. For example:

  • Brakes screech, and a young man lies on the ground with a car next to him. It looks like he’s just been knocked over by the car. But he gets up and seems unhurt.
  • After being sexually harassed by a man over 60, Jill grabs the man and shouts that she is being attacked. A second elderly man rushes into the room. He punches Jill’s alleged attacker in the face, knocking him to the ground. Later, the first man has a black eye and bruised nose and face.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:

  • Gracie tells Jill about her daughter’s wedding. Gracie knows that the information will cause Jill a great deal of emotional pain.
  • Jill is very upset. She tells her husband, Brian, that he and Cheryl have hurt her and let her down.
  • There is a surreal dream sequence, which shows nightmarish images of a very distressed Cheryl in a wedding dress. She is at her reception, haunted and overwhelmed by unknown forces and voices. Cheryl wakes up screaming, crying and very upset by her nightmare.
  • Brian has a heart attack, which is dramatised in a very realistic way. He clutches at his arm before collapsing to the ground unconscious. Sometime later, he wakes up and crawls to an oxygen cylinder, where he sucks oxygen from an oxyacetylene torch. In a following scene, a nurse tells Jill and Cheryl that Brian is in a serious condition with a shunt in his leg. Some time later, Brian lies in a hospital bed with wires and tubes going into monitors. Cheryl cries on Stew’s shoulder.

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group could be disturbed by the scenes described above.

Over 13

There are no scenes likely to frighten children in this age group, other than those mentioned above.

Sexual references

This movie contains some sexual references. For example:

  • While at a garage sale, a man talks about a ‘Balinese Lady’, which is a framed print of some sort. Muffy says, ‘That boy really needs that Balinese Lady’. Jill replies, ‘I’ll tell you what that boy really needs – a girlfriend’.
  • After Cheryl and Stew tell Cheryl’s parents that they have an announcement, Jill says to Cheryl, ‘You’re not pregnant, are you?’
  • An elderly man asks Jill to work for him. He tells Jill that they would have the perfect working relationship and then pats Jill’s hand. His actions and comments have sexual undertones. Jill says she will tell the man’s wife that he made a pass at her. He gets angry, and tells Jill that his wife wouldn’t believe her. He calls Jill a ‘stupid teacher’.
  • A man talks about watching an episode of The X-Files. He describes an alien crawling up a man’s bottom.
  • In a comical, flirtatious way, a man innocently asks a woman if she would like to come back to his house and view his prints.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie contains some use of substances. For example, waiters at a wedding reception hold bottes of champagne. There are also glasses of champagne on tables.

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • After Stew proposes to Cheryl and she accepts, Stew and Cheryl kiss each other passionately on the lips.
  • Two scenes show Cheryl and Stew in bed. In one scene, they are both fully clothed. In the other, Stew has bare shoulders.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

This movie contains infrequent low-level coarse language and put-downs.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Second-Hand Wedding is a slightly dark romantic comedy and social satire, targeted at an older teenage and adult audience. Made in New Zealand, it is full of quirky humour not unlike that seen in the 1990s Australian movie The Castle. Although it isn’t as funny as The Castle, it is entertaining and touching in parts.

The main messages from this movie are about putting your fears aside and trusting the people you love. This is better than being afraid of family embarrassment.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:

  • Selflessness: together with his workmates, Stew puts a lot of time and effort into restoring Brian’s vintage car in an effort to raise Brian’s spirits after his heart attack. Jill sacrifices her entire collection of garage-sale bargains to raise money to pay for Cheryl’s wedding reception. Muffy works hard on getting the reception together. The entire community chips in to buy Jill’s items, paying more than they are worth.
  • Love and devotion: Jill and Brian show love and devotion towards each other throughout the movie.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about some real-life issues. For example, you could talk about the harmful nature of Gracie’s actions towards Jill and how they cause Jill to feel depressed.