Written by and acted in by Nia Vardolos, the 2002 film begins with a 5am overview of a blackened skyline, highlighted by blue city highrise lights while cheerful string Greek music plays. Rain, sleet and snow pour down as a sleepy brunette woman, who wears glasses and red ear muffs as she sits in a 80's sized car with her father who is driving. While at a stop light he looks at her in frustration and near disgust to say, "You'd better get married soon. You're starting to look...old."
A voice-over of Toula defending herself begins; "My Dad's been saying that to me since I was 15. Because nice Greek girls are supposed to do three things in life: marry Greek boys, make Greek babies and feed everyone until the day we die."
They are driving to the family restaurant, Dancing Zorbas, where Toula works as she is a nice Greek girl who has never married. And at 30 she is "way past" her expiration date. Toula laments that she has never quite fit in as a popular girl, even in grade-school because she was swarthy when all the cool girls were blond and delicate. Though the latter features are the minority in real life, the main difference lies in that Toula and her family do not fit a stereotypical mould of a midwestern middle class household. Her family is loud and social in everything they do and she has 27 first cousins alone. A quiet and thoughtful woman, she butters garlic bread everyday and wonders when her life will begin.
But her future begins to slowly unfold to a new beginning after she meets a fellow, Ian, who is a teacher from a quiet, well to do family whose male line mainly consists of lawyers. Though, opposition comes from Toula's father who is very upset as in his opinion, his daughter is leaving him for God knows who from outside their own community. But life goes on and Toula finds a happy one.
By Sarah Bahl