Review / ‘Ali’s Wedding’ (MA) ****

ALI (Osamah Sami) is an Australian-born Muslim whose Iranian-born father Mahdi (Don Hany) is imam at a Melbourne mosque.

Osamah Sami not only plays the film’s central character. The screenplay he co-wrote with Andrew Knight is more than an account of life as an Australian-born Sunni Muslim. It’s a parable of his own experiences.

“Ali’s Wedding” is not an Osamah Sami vanity movie. It’s a warm-hearted warts-and-all romantic comedy drama that shines a sometimes discomfiting light on being a Muslim who’s an Australian citizen by right of birth in an era when some very nasty characters are promoting Islam’s most revolting elements.

The screenplay evolves around a trio of lies, chief of which is Ali’s concealment of a low mark in a test for entry to Melbourne University’s Medical School. His father’s congregation is proud of Ali’s apparent acceptance. His mother is over the moon about it and has arranged a marriage for him. But Ali has fallen hard for Dianne (Helana Sawires), daughter of a Lebanese fish-and-chip shop owner. Her entry score is among the top group.

I hope that “Ali’s Wedding” will bring satisfaction to a wide Australian audience and in overseas markets. It’s not a polemic for Islam. It’s a warm, credible, look at a segment of Australian society which, for better or worse (and let us all hope for the former), is here to stay and offers cultural customs that go beyond cuisine.

At Palace Electric, Dendy and Capitol 6

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