Ali’s Wedding is a reminder of how great the Australian film industry can be.

Dubbed Australia’s “first Muslim rom-com“, the film is based on the real life events of actor, writer and comedian Osamah Sami who also plays the titular character.

Ali’s story starts with a lie which spirals into a vortex piled with faith, love, marriage, and culture. The lie – that Ali passed his medical exam with an impressive score of 96.4, in reality, he only got 68.5. In order to impress the community, he carries the lie on – even attending lectures and as a result, he becomes the golden boy of the community.

The mosque, located in Melbourne, and its worshippers are the centrepiece of Ali’s Wedding. Ali’s father, Madhi (played by Don Hady), is the imam of the mosque, and consequently wields enormous influence over the community. His father’s position places Ali in an awkward position with expectations placed upon him to excel at life, faith and marriage.

When a marriage is arranged for Ali, he is contending with feelings for Dianne (played by Helana Sawires), who also attends the same mosque and medical school (she actually got in with a score of 99). Much of the film revolves around their blossoming romance and it is actually one of the sweetest love stories to play out on a big screen. 

Whilst, this film is funny and feel-good, a solemn element is also subtly embedded. There’s an event from Ali’s childhood which is utterly heartbreaking and although the film doesn’t really delve into it, one can see it is an underlying element affecting Ali’s family.

Ali’s Wedding is a quintessential home grown production, and utilises some Australian film conventions. This is evident in a few over the top scenes (see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Muriel’s Wedding) which add some production value without seeming misplaced. An example of this being a musical about Saddam Hussein in which Ali stars (this actually happened in real life as well).

The film plays into some Muslim stereotypes for comedic value, but it does so in a way which is not tacky. There is also an exploration between the pressures of young Muslim Australians, juggling their religion and its cultural expectations with that of Australian society. The storyline itself does not really deviate much outside of the mosque community and it doesn’t need to.

Ali’s Wedding is great to see if you are looking for some laughs, a few tears and something to do for 110 minutes. 

This film was seen at Dendy cinemas in the Canberra Centre

Featured image courtesy of Madman.