My Dad didn’t have to endure submersion in a kiddy pool, like Ian Miller in the box office hit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, but he did have to convert to Greek Orthodoxy in order to marry my mom.
After a brief chat with the priest at the cathedral in my home town, my Uncle Bill had arranged for a shot-gun baptism, with my mother as the Nouna ? godmother ? right before my parent’s wedding.
Parallel to my parents’ experience, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is about Toula, a woman struggling with her cultural identity, who becomes engaged to a non-Greek.
The movie pretty much consists of a prolonged boisterously entertaining culture clash with which most Greeks can identify.
I am half-Greek and half I-don’t-know. While my mother can trace her genealogy back to the island of Limnos, my dad really doesn’t identify himself as anything but American. So I pretty much say that I am Greek.
I love identifying myself with this rich culture. It’s comforting, it’s fun. Most importantly, it tastes good.
Due to my fascination with Greek culture, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” really hit home. While my parents let me go to Girl Scouts instead of Greek school when I was little, my mom wasn’t so privileged. She resorted to counting goats and cooking spanikopita like all the other little Greek girls.
And like Toula, as the eldest daughter, her family incessantly tried to marry her off. She, however, felt destined to be single forever and take care of the entire family.
This movie is indeed a chick flick, so there is the guaranteed happy ending and the moments of romantic mush, but it’s not too obvious like the majority of romantic comedies, with predictable hidden secrets unveiled at the end.
Toula was candid about all her family’s quirks from the beginning, which is particularly refreshing. Both girls and guys alike will be anything but bored.
And not only was this movie funny, it was inspiring. Toula journeys to self-actualization as she transforms herself from “frump girl” into a self-assured, educated hotty. She takes college computer courses, works at a travel agency and eventually gains some independence from her family.
I think I left the theater as happy and enlivened as Toula in the end. This movie makes me happy.
I had to chuckle to myself while watching this movie (the two times that I have seen it) on how accurate this film was.
When Aunt Voula and Maria manipulate Gus into thinking he calls the shots throughout the movie, it feels like home.
I must have witnessed my Nana do this a million times to my Papou ? grandfather ? who I might add had the same exact comb-over as Gus, Toula’s father.
My Greek friends and I all came to the conclusion that most of the characters in this movie had equivalents in our churches ? the young slutty cousin, the families where everyone is named Nick, the old yayas from Greece and much more.
While some of the references to Greek-American life in this movie were a bit exaggerated, the movie can give you a pretty accurate glimpse into what it’s like to be Greek.
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, see it right now. It is hilarious. Even if I was Sri Lankan, I would say the same thing.
Knihnicki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.