Sunday 29 October 2023

Movie Review: Wild Mountain Thyme (2020)

Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: John Patrick Shanley
Starring: Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Christopher Walken, Jon Hamm
Running Time: 102 minutes

Synopsis: In rural Ireland, Anthony (Jamie Dornan) and Rosemary (Emily Blunt) grew up on adjacent farms. Rosemary has been waiting all her life for Anthony to express his love and propose marriage, but he is awkward and hesitant. When Anthony's ailing father Tony (Christopher Walken) hints that US-based cousin Adam (Jon Hamm) may inherit the farm instead of Anthony, Rosemary has to more proactively define her future.

What Works Well: The idyllic beauty of the Irish countryside and the farming way of life saturate a quirky romance, embracing Anthony and Rosemary as a non-traditional would-be couple. Director John Patrick Shanley also wrote the witty script based on his play, and adopts suitably modest pacing as Rosemary is gradually nudged to a place of passionate courage. Secondary characters animate the background and underline the culture-building sense of community and family history.

What Does Not Work As Well: Ireland appears to be stuck in olden times, and while they admirably invest in their roles, both Emily Blunt and Jamie Dornan (in their late 30s) may be too old for these characters. The best scenes are also the talkiest, the stage origins unconcealed and the sophisticated banter inconsistent with an environment of earthy genuineness. The final narrative twist is quite bewildering, and the predetermined ending then arrives in a flustered rush.

Conclusion: Beautiful to look at, but the terrain is also uneven.

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