‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2’ warms hearts over a decade after original film

Universal Pictures/Courtesy

Fourteen years ago, the world witnessed the love story between Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos), an independent Greek woman, and Ian Miller (John Corbett), a middle-class non-Greek man, in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Now the beloved romantic comedy sequel, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” hits theaters with as much humor, surprises and love as its original while Toula and Ian strive to maintain the romance of their relationship and keep up with the hustle and bustle that comes with being in a Greek family.

Fast-forward some years and Toula and Ian are now taking care of their high school teenaged daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris), who attempts to break away from Greek traditions as she heads off to college. Filled with worry as to where Paris will go to school, the couple struggles to solve their marital problems as a family secret from the past unravels. As Toula constantly resorts to aid her parents, she fails to make time for her husband and, consequently, fix their marriage.

In an interview with Katie Couric, Nia Vardalos, the star and executive producer of both movies, describes why it took 14 years to create a sequel. She expresses her initial concern of not finding a concrete idea to expand the second movie into and it being a challenge for her to write. Vardalos was ultimately inspired by her daughter to eventually finish it, especially on her daughter’s first day of kindergarten. “I realized I couldn’t let go, and I had morphed into my own suffocating Greek parents,” Vardalos said in the interview.

The difficulty of letting go of the familiar and venturing into an unknown territory is evident throughout the movie. Toula struggles to break away from her daughter as she goes to college, mirroring Vardalos’ real-life struggles with her own daughter.

Not only does Toula build a relationship with Paris, but she also learns about the positives and negatives that come with parenting. The film also signifies the importance of family and heritage — something we often take for granted without realizing its impact on our lives.

While sending laughs with every passing scene, the film touches on the importance of strong, independent women. In the midst of juggling around her worries, Toula never fails to speak her mind and do what is best for her family. In a world where women’s voices are often limited, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” voices the lasting effect women have on their families. Toula especially establishes herself as a matriarch when she stands up for her family in an argument with her neighbors, thus showing Paris that she comes from a line of bold women.  

The film reinvents notions of what constitutes as an “ideal family,” but it also builds toward a bigger picture — that family will always have your back. As Toula organizes yet another big fat Greek wedding, she understands the power of love — of having your loved ones close to help you make those big choices in your life. “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” gives fans a heartwarming sequel while simultaneously sending the message to always keep your loved ones close.

Of course with the business of our everyday lives, it can often be difficult to stay in touch with family members. All of Toula’s aunts, uncles and cousins live on same street, so it is not hard for them to be together. But for families who do not have that opportunity, it can be inconvenient. And as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” underlies, having family by your side at the end of the day is what matters after all.

Contact Mana Anvar at [email protected].