The film Muriel’s Wedding is set in the fictional town of Porpoise Spit, Australia and follows the journey of self-discovery of the young woman Muriel Heslopp. In searching for marriage, the idea which she thinks will validate her as a person, she finds herself. In the film, the character of Rhonda helped me to understand the important message that friendship acts as a catalyst for self-discovery. The director PJ Hogan uses the techniques of music, cinematography and dialogue to help communicate that idea.
The first technique, music, is used in mainly in the setting of Hibiscus Island, the fictional honeymoon destination in which Muriel meets Rhonda for the first time since Year 10. Muriel and Rhonda are performing in a talent show, with the song Waterloo by ABBA. The song symbolises the real Muriel, who is present in this scene. Rhonda encourages Muriel to be herself, confidently. This allows Muriel to truly understand who she really is, the beginning of her journey of self-discovery. The music is particularly significant, with lyrics in the song such as “knowing my fate is to be with you” which represents the friendship between Rhonda and Muriel. The song Waterloo is significant as a whole too, because it’s about a battle, which symbolises the interior battle of Muriel between her true self and the self who conforms to societies expectations. Rhonda singing the song with Muriel foreshadows how Rhonda will help Muriel through her internal battle and help her eventually reach self-discovery.
The next technique, which is used in several different scenes is cinematography. In the scene in which Muriel is trying on wedding dresses behind Rhonda’s back, cinematography is used to communicate the message that friendship acts as a catalyst for self-discovery. Just before Rhonda is about to leave for rehabilitation, she enters Muriel’s room and finds a photo album full of photographs of Muriel in various wedding dresses. The next shot is and Extreme Close-Up (XCU) on Rhonda’s confused face. Her face appears worried and quite puzzled as she tries to figure out what was going on. This XCU shot shows how much Rhonda cares about Muriel and the extent to which Rhonda cares about Muriel’s wellbeing. Later in that scene,