MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING

greek 

Overall Impression – My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a great romantic comedy which I’ve enjoyed many times and still like to watch.  At the same time, I always get the feeling that something is missing.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS

Who’s your main character? – Toula.

What’s she trying to accomplish? – Professional: Get married.  Personal: Get her family, particularly her father, to accept Ian, a non-Greek, into the family.  Private: Get away from the restaurant and have a fulfilling life.

Who’s trying to stop her? – Gus, her father.

What happens if she fails? — Toula will be unhappy. Not living with the man she loves and being stuck in the restaurant will make her life empty, without any meaning. In other words…figuratively DEAD!

THE FOUR ARCHETYPES

Orphan — Toula is a single 30-year-old woman, working in her family’s restaurant, the “Dancing Zorba’s”. She feels that she is missing out on life and is afraid that this might be it. Toula would like to study at the City College so she could get away from the restaurant, but dares only to secretly dream about this.

Wanderer — Meeting a high-school teacher, Ian Miller, makes her wish to study even stronger.  With her mother’s help they convince her father that taking computer classes would improve the restaurant business. Starting this course, she changes her appearance totally: contact lenses instead of glasses; wearing make-up and nice clothes. She takes a class in computers and tourism. Knowing that her aunt has a travel agency, she decides to take this class, hoping she can work there, this way escaping the restaurant. Together with her aunt and her mother, they manipulate the situation letting her father think that it was his brilliant idea of sending Toula to work at the aunt’s travel agency.

Warrior — At her new job, she meets Ian Miller again. They start a relationship in secret, behind her family’s back, because they would never approve her dating a non-Greek. However, her cousin Nikki tells her that the family knows: a neighbor saw them together. Ian asks Toula’s father permission to date her, but he refuses. They however stay together, become more intimate as time goes on. Ian proposes, and the father accepts their coming marriage, although not without complaint. To make it easier for the family, Ian (who is not religious anyway) converts to the Greek orthodox faith.

 Martyr — Trying to please the family, Ian converts to Greek orthodox. For his part, Gus gives in and accepts Ian.  It doesn’t appear that Toula sacrifices much, if anything.

 AND, IN THE END…

Is Toula giving up something in the end? Or is it Ian who asks the father if it’s OK to date her (taking her fight), converts to the Greek orthodox faith to please the father (changing his religion)? Ian even tries to learn their language. It seems to me that during the warrior part, it’s Iam who is the hero and not Toula. During the wedding, it’s the Millers who adapt themselves and start to enjoy the Greek partying lifestyle, and it is Gus who accepts the differences between the families by saying that even while we are different fruits (apple and orange), we are all still fruit.  Maybe this is why I feel something’s missing: Toula isn’t actively driving several of the key moments.

– André van Haren

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