Based on the experiences of comic and lead actor Osamah Sami, an Iraqi refugee who arrived in Australia as a boy after several years in Iran, it begins with the title card: “A true story. Unfortunately.” This really doesn’t prepare you for what follows.
A warm, sentimental comedy, cast almost entirely with Muslim Australians (1 Vietnamese guy and 1 Australian guy) this is a purely myopic look at one section of Australian society, where the rest of us don’t exist. And this is a good thing, because it provides a lovely look into misunderstood section of our population, whilst at the same time serving up a big chuck of middle class Australian values.
Ali is the son of a Muslim cleric (Don Hany), he hopes to become a doctor but after failing to get into medical school, he lies massively to his family and friends that he got a 94.4% pass and acceptance into Melbourne Uni.
He starts attending classes anyway, the lie grows and grows. Ali is trapped. But worse is to come. At Uni, he pursues a young woman from the mosque, but wait, this is not the same woman he’s been pressured into engaging. And as the sayi9ng goes “It all goes pear shaped.”
This is an ideal world and that makes it so entertaining. I loved the scenes in the3 Mosque with musicals performed by overenthusiastic worshipers. Women behind mirrored glass windows and complete with eccentric but loveable locals.
In reality many Australian comedies about migrants have been riddled with the tension between the migrant and Aussie culture. In Ali’s Wedding, Australia is a relatively simnple adopted country. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, maybe it’s a sign of our culture maturing but in Ali’s world, things seem OK here.
n fact, the film suggests that whatever trials and tribulations await recently arrived communities, none are as bad as back home, and many troubles are self-inflicted.
Australian racism? It barely registers. Where there is cultural tension, it’s within Ali’s community. Two religious leaders polls apart. His progressive father, who offers free counseling services from the back room of his modest brick and tile house and directs an annual satirical play about Saddam Hussein, faces a humourless rival. Ali, meanwhile, is at loggerheads with his mother,(a lively Frances Duca,) who disapproves of the girl he loves because she’s from the wrong part of the Middle East and, worse still, born in Australia.
This is a sign of loose morals, she says, and in one of the film’s more successful moments, Ali’s younger sister calls out her reverse snobbery with the bitter observation that she too was “born here”.
Where there is cultural tension, it’s within Ali’s community
This is a feel good view of Muslim society in Australia. Everything fits, good music, tight editing and strong acting from a group of relatively unknown support actors. It’s good movie. Go see it.