My Big Fat Greek Wedding was a limited release film that ended up becoming immensely popular in a very short amount of time. The center of the film's action focuses on Toula, a Greek woman who, at the age of the 30, considers herself unfulfilled and a failure. Unlike her sister, Athena, Toula is unmarried and still working at the family restaurant, Dancing Zorbas. Toula dreams of doing something different from her traditional family, and she is inspired to change by seeing Ian, an attractive professor who walks by the restaurant's window.
Toula begins to take classes at the local college, and her mother and her aunt encourage her. She starts to come out of her shell by making more decisions about her personal life rather than allowing them to be dictated by her highly traditional father. As time goes on, she becomes engaged to Ian, something that enrages her traditional father, and the action of the movie takes place over her year-long engagement to a man her father finds incredibly unsuitable.
The movie highlights the differences between Ian's experience and Toula's experience as they try to navigate the cultural pitfalls that lie between them. For example, to placate Toula's family, Ian must learn to speak Greek fluently, and on top of that, he must also be baptized in the Eastern Orthodox church. Throughout the engagement, the two try to keep up with a family that means well while also having a specific way that they need things to be done.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding takes on the cultural divides that occur even within a small family and enlarges them to the point where they are obvious. The movie highlights both class and culture differences. Neither side is seen to be right, but instead, they must find compromise between them. Throughout the movie, Ian and Toula's love shines as the bridge that brings their two very different experiences together.
It was 2002 when "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" snuck into theaters and became one of the highest-grossing independent films of all time. Nia Vardalos, who wrote and starred in the original, is finally bringing back the Portokalos family.