Before seeing this romantic comedy set largely in Australia’s Arab and Iranian migrant communities, I suspected a lot of heart would, in all likelihood, be used to paper over an inevitable roughness around the edges. Not because of its ethnic background, but because that so often happens with local comedies when they’re the work of first-time feature directors, in this case Jeffrey Walker.

But I now confess to having underestimated this delightful film, based on the real life experiences of its charming lead actor and co-writer, Osamah Sami, an Australian born in Iran to Iraqi parents. Ali’s Weddingturns out to be an unusually accomplished production: well directed, written, cast and acted, beautifully shot and unerringly well paced, adding up to a film that is amusing, relentlessly entertaining and unlike any Australian film that we have seen before.

Of course it is not entirely original – few films are. At its heart is a variation on the Romeo and Juliet story, but it’s one dressed in myriad new clothes. Our Romeo is Sami’s Ali, a naïve young man living with his Iranian-Iraqi family in the Melbourne suburbs. Ali works in a convenience store while waiting to see if...

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