How does the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" relate to belonging?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Part of the reason why the film was a success was that it played around with this idea of belonging.  Toula is a unique character because she is not one who "fits" in with the supposed perfect "Greek" life.  She isn't like her sister, Athena.  Toula's immediate appeal to the audience is her struggle with what she is supposed to do or be.  I think that Toula's relationship with Ian at first emerges because Toula feels that she does not belong in the Greek lifestyle, or the life to which her family wants her to belong.  As the film progresses, Toula understands that this life is a part of her and she belongs to it, whether she likes it or not.  The only hope she has in order to be happy is to ensure that Ian can be integrated into it as well.  For his part, Ian is willing to be baptized, struggles with the gregariously depicted Greek life, and makes sure that her new conception of self with Ian is something that is embraced by the Greek vision of life to which she belongs.  In the end, Greek life and its trappings is the paradigm to which she belongs and to which Toula must find happiness within.

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