By Lori Perkins
My Greek-American mother died this year and my brother and I put together a memorial service that brought the clan together. With a last name like “Perkins,” I think you can guess that my mother was the one in the family who married the “xénos,” which is the plot of the first movie.
Side note here: My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the all-time best performing romance in movie history.
I kind of had no idea what to expect from this third movie. To be honest, I wasn’t enamored of the second one, but I do love the Portokalas family, which reminds me of so many of my own relatives. So I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed – no, was moved by – this latest installment of the series.
I knew they were all going to Greece, and I knew the patriarch has passed. And I knew that Nia Vardalos was the driving force of this series, and that almost all the regulars were returning. What I didn’t know was how much deeper, for me (and probably for Vardalos, too) the emotional and life experience elements would resonate in this film. Yes, there’s a wedding, and the expected Greek-American hijinks, but the real heart of the movie is about understanding, appreciating and accepting all that our parents gave us (and gave up) to give us the lives we have. I both laughed and cried during the movie, and I wasn’t expecting the later.
Vardolas wrote, directed and starred in the film, and it is an amazing accomplishment, as far as I’m concerned. She’ll never be considered a “great” filmmaker or an auteur by the mainstream film world, but these movies tell a female-centric part of the immigrant American story that is rarely shown.
And, Nia, please tell me where I can get all those fabulous clothes!