Remember Muriel’s Wedding? P.J. Hogan’s rom-com drama starring Toni Collette (as Muriel Heslop) and Rachel Griffiths (as Rhonda Epinstalk) made viewers laugh, cry and also take a hard look at their (love) lives — it certainly wasn’t your typical no-substance romantic film.
It’s hard to believe that this film came out 22 years ago, but it still remains one of the most popular Australian films of all time, and for good reason. Here are 7 lessons we learnt from the iconic film.
1. Don’t obsess over the endgame
For Muriel, marriage was the ultimate endgame. She was so obsessed with getting a perfect white dress, a gorgeous man and her happy-ever-after, that she lost sight of who she was and ended up married without any real connection. Her story is a comment on our wedding culture and one that really makes you think twice. Don’t strive for things like beauty, popularity or superficial romantic titles; rather search for a meaningful connection and true love.
2. There’s more than one kind of love
Sometimes, being loved is all a person needs to be able to fulfill their true potential, but this doesn’t necessarily mean romantic love. It could mean learning to love yourself or it could just be an awesome friendship.
The most romantic moment in the film isn’t between Muriel and her husband; it’s the bond she shares with Rhonda. And one of the most memorable moments in the entire film occurs when the ABBA superfans participate in the “Waterloo” dance scene — shutting down their haters in the most epic way and reminding us that love comes in many different forms and having a true friend can dramatically alter our lives.
3. You don’t have to change who you are
While Muriel was on a quest to dramatically transform her life in order to find love, she never needed to change who she was because she was always special.
When it comes to her wedding, Muriel thinks she’s made it, she thinks that she’s shown the bullies that she’s “as good as they are.” The problem is, as Rhonda reminds her, she was always better. And here’s the life lesson: Find someone who loves you for being you and remain true to yourself, because real love is when someone can see through the illusion to truly love you for you, flaws and all!
4. Don’t compare your relationship to others
If you can take away one major love lesson from this movie, it should be to not compare your relationship with others. It’s not always easy, with people constantly posting loved-up pictures and soppy status updates on social media, but really don’t let it get to you!
Muriel wanted to compare her life and her romance to that of her old frenemies, but no two relationships are the same and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. Stop trying to compare your happiness to that of someone else — it’s not something that can be measured.
5. Life is not a rom-com
Muriel thought she got it all: She’s friends with the popular mean girls, she’s married to a gorgeous celebrity swimmer and she had the wedding of her dreams, but along the way she ditched Rhonda and forgot what was important.
Perhaps, the best thing about this film is the realization that life is not a romantic comedy, it’s complex: Passion doesn’t always last, love sometimes dies (if it was ever even there) and there’s a lot of sadness and many trials.
6. Know your worth
Most of us have struggled with self-esteem or weight issues at some point in our lives, and this can alter the way we see ourselves. We saw Muriel get so caught up in finding love, with anyone, that she dated (and ultimately married) the wrong guy, which left her feeling as if she was in a hollow relationship with a stranger. Thanks to Muriel we know never to settle, but rather to always reach; to be with someone who is passionate, who listens and above all, respects us.
7. It’s not always about finding prince charming
Forget prince charming; this isn’t a Disney film. Instead, work out who you are, and learn to love and respect yourself. Because in the end, the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself.