Guest Editor, Natalie Aroyan from Pink Hibiscus
I was lucky enough to find out about the Sydney premiere of ‘My Life in Ruins‘ at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace in the nick of time last week (I’ve since joined up for the e-newsletter from the gorgeous theatre and highly recommend you do too!). It was the perfect solution to the age old question “what do I do for my Mother’s birthday?” My beautiful mother is a huge fan of Nia Vardalos and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and not only would we get to see her new film, but we would also get to see Nia interviewed by Ada Nicodemou prior to the screening! Better yet, the premiere was on my Mother’s actual birthday…perfect! Or as they say in Greek&telios.
Having not heard too much about the movie before seeing it but knowing that it starred the ever amusing, inspiring and talented Nia Vardalos, I knew that I would love it…I was right.
Nia plays Georgia, who goes in search of her mojo (kefi) in her native land of Greece. An ancient history professor who is unable to find work in her chosen field, she takes to the glorious Greek ruins as a tour guide who doesn’t really fit into the normal tour guide mold. Competing against the sickening Nick (who gets the air conditioned bus and the ‘perfect’ tourists) nothing seems to go right for her. As much as you feel sorry for Georgia though, there is the undeniable desire to yell “loosen up” for the first half of the movie.
Her non-airconditioned bus and archetypal tourists take Georgia on a journey to find herself and, ultimately, her kefi. There are the loud ,VB carrying Aussies who you don’t understand half the time (I was a bit annoyed about that stereotype actually!), the sexy divorcees after a good time, the obnoxious Americans, the kleptomaniac old lady and the argumentative English family among the group. The stand out performance though, has to go to Richard Dreyfuss who plays Irv, the comedic widower who is believed to be ‘God’ on the bus. He is insightful, funny and real and as much as he makes you laugh, he also brings a tear to your eye.
The entire movie took me on a journey back in time to my tour group in Egypt several years ago. The stereotypes may have been exaggerated, but goodness they were all reminiscent of the people who journeyed down the Nile with me!
The underlying message is to let go and just enjoy yourself, don’t plan life let it take you on the ride that you’re supposed to have. That message really resonated with me and there were many nudges from my mum throughout the movie with her asking me if I was listening! Quite amusing actually…but the message is a poignant one.
The slapstick comedy featured in the movie isn’t too in your face and one of the most lowbrow bits of humour is the discovery of the tour bus driver’s name…Poupy Kakas. Regardless of how childish it is, the entire cinema was in hysterics.
Prior to the film, Nia shared some of her experiences behind the scenes of “My Life in Ruins” including her nervousness at working with Richard Dreyfuss. Being a huge fan of “Jaws” she said that she was a tad stalkeresque to begin with but soon settled in and was really “honoured” to work with such a great actor. She joked about being able to “name drop” now that this is her second film produced with Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson (who makes a cameo appearance in the film as Irv’s deceased wife) but was just so down to earth about it all.
Nia reiterated the importance of following your dreams no matter how large or unrealistic they may seem because she was just a normal gal from Canada who was determined to follow her heart and look where she is now!
“My Life In Ruins” is showing in cinemas nationally from the 16th July 2009.
Category: Film & TV