Story

After getting a promotion at work, Lauren (Miranda Tapsell) has just 10 days to organise and celebrate her wedding to fiancé Ned (Gwilym Lee). The couple head to Darwin to surprise Lauren’s family but the surprise is on them. Lauren’s mother, Daffy (Ursula Yovich), has just left her father, Trevor (Huw Higginson). Unable to get married without Daffy, Lauren and Ned set off through the Northern Territory to find Daffy and bring her home. Meanwhile Lauren enlists her workaholic boss Hampton (Kerry Fox) to organise her father and friends, who are making a complete shamble of the wedding preparations.

While Hampton negotiates cakes and flowers, Lauren and Ned negotiate the ups and downs of their unique relationship. In the end, they don’t get the wedding that they planned – they get something infinitely better.

Themes

Family estrangement and intercultural marriage

Violence

Top End Wedding has some violence. For example, Ned and Trevor wrestle and shove each other in the pantry. They stop when a glass breaks and Trevor has to pull a long shard out of his foot.

Sexual references

Top End Wedding has some sexual references. For example:

  • Hampton tells Lauren that Ned’s ‘gum nuts’ are shrinking.
  • As soon as Lauren and Ned announce their wedding, Lauren is asked when she’s ‘due’.
  • Lauren’s hen night involves drinking alcohol through straws shaped like penises and eating a ‘penis cake’. There are numerous references to the penis cake.
  • One of Lauren’s girlfriends tells another that she wouldn’t know a cake if it landed between her legs. The girl then retorts with, ‘At least I got things landing between my legs’. She then lists the men she has had between her legs.
  • One of Lauren’s friends tells Lauren’s dad not to be sad about his wife leaving. She recounts some of her sexual exploits and explains how one began like a Disney movie and ended with a XXX rating.
  • There are rumours about a French helicopter pilot’s sexuality.
  • Lauren discovers that she has a gay uncle and numerous other gay relatives. While giving Lauren a tour of the Tiwi Islands, one uncle points out the ‘hot spots’ where he takes her other uncles at night time.
  • Hampton gropes Ned while trying to grab his mobile phone out of his pocket. Ned calls out, ‘Hey, you’ve got my testicles’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Top End Wedding shows some use of substances. For example:

  • People drink frequently, at home while watching TV and games, in bars, at the wedding, and so on.
  • Trevor drinks too much. There are empty beer bottles all over his house when Lauren and Ned arrive.
  • Lauren’s mother is arrested for smoking marijuana.
  • Photos at the end of the movie show wedding guests secretly drinking from hip flasks when it’s meant to be a dry wedding.

Nudity and sexual activity

Top End Wedding has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • After Ned proposes, Lauren jumps into his arms and they fall onto the couch kissing passionately. When the scene resumes, Ned is sitting in his underwear and Lauren has a tussled look. She’s wearing a sheer shirt that falls open a bit at the front, revealing some cleavage.
  • One scene includes a scene from Die Hard, where a blood-covered Bruce Willis passionately kisses a woman.
  • Lauren and Ned are shown photos of Daffy and a French helicopter pilot. Daffy and the pilot are naked and rumoured to have shared a night of wild, intoxicating sex. The pilot later says, ‘I never experienced such a night of repressed sexual passion’.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in Top End Wedding: the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel.

Coarse language

Top End Wedding has some coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Top End Wedding is a romantic comedy about families, intercultural marriage and relationship challenge. The acting is excellent, the cinematography is beautiful and the cultural elements are shown in a respectful and endearing way. But this isn’t a family film and is best enjoyed by older audiences.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • Life is an adventure.
  • It’s never too late to right a wrong.
  • If you follow your heart long enough it will lead you home.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include empathy, compassion, forgiveness, determination and love.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the importance of responding to phone calls when your parents ring and keeping the lines of communication open, especially when things are hard to talk about.