There was an Australian movie, Muriel’s Wedding, which, incidentally, starred both Toni Collette and Rachel Griffith before they were famous. It features Muriel Heslop, a complete no-hoper trying desperately to compete with her beautiful, popular mates. They all come from an obscure NSW town no-one gives a crap about.
Eventually, she meets up with Rhonda, a party-girl, who takes her half-way to being herself – but eventually she has to make her own way there and face up to her own demons.
There’s a well-known Australian book, Looking for Alibrandi, which puts it succinctly: you can run away, but eventually you have to stop, and you’ll have the same old demons, but with no-one you know to help you”¦
In an attempt to live up to the standards of her glamorous school-friends, Muriel enters into a marriage with a hunky South African celebrity seeking a passport. Her snubbing friends clamour to be her bridesmaids, but ultimately Muriel realises Rhonda meant more to her than they did. She made a mistake, choosing glister over gold, and she has to go eat humble pie.
Eventually, Muriel realises that no matter how far, how spectacularly she runs, the demons are still there, and she faces them on her own – the only way that demons can be faced. She tells her father he stuffed up, and she blows kisses goodbye to her home town, having outgrown it in every sense of the word, as they race out of there. “˜GOODBYE, PORPOISE SPIT!’ remains one of my favourite quotes, however obscure it may be – I have never seen a more heartfelt or symbolic portrayal of shedding one’s skin for once and for all”¦
Muriel’s Wedding is one of my favourite movies because the heroine was unglamorous, plain-looking, and she faced her own demons, with no man in tow.