WILD MOUNTAIN THYME
(director/writer: John Patrick Shanley; writer: from the play “Outside Mullingar” by John Patrick Shanley; cinematographer: Stephan Goldblatt; editor: Ian Blume; music: Amelia Warner; cast: Emily Blunt (Rosemary Muldoon), Jamie Dornan (Anthony Reilly), Jon Hamm (Adam), Christopher Walken (Tony Reilly), Dearbhla Molloy (Aoife Muldoon), Don Wycherley (Chris Muldoon), Jon Tenney (Pub MC), Danielle Ryan (Maeve), Lydia McGuinness (Eleanor); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Leslie Urdang/Anthony Bregman/Alex Witchel/Bradley Gallo/Michaela Helfant/Martina Niland; Bleecker Street; 2020)
“Its touristy photos of its lush locations by DP Stephan Goldblatt was enough to keep things watchable and pleasant, even if the pic is not riveting.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A failed romcom, that looks nice (with beautiful shots of County Mayo) but is loaded down with major plot blunders and a clumsily executed narrative. It’s directed by the Bronx-born playwright John Patrick Shanley (“Doubt”/”Joe Versus the Volcano”), who adapts his own 2014 Broadway play to the screen, “Outside Mullingar.” It’s narrated by the American actor Christopher Walken as Tony Reilly, who has a bad Irish accent. He ruminates about being a farmer neighbor of the farmer Chris Muldoon (Don Wycherley). Though set in the present, no smart phones or computers can be seen.
Set in the rural Irish countryside, the attractive thirtysomething headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt), the daughter of Chris, has her heart set on marrying the same-aged handsome but obstinate farmer neighbor, Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan), the son of Tony. But for some unnamed reason he doesn’t respond to her and fails to propose even though he’s attracted to her. Instead, Anthony busies himself following his father’s plans to sell the family farm to his American nephew Adam (John Hamm), living in NYC. Adam comes to Ireland to see the farm and meets Rosemary, leading to another subplot.
The leads might be good actors but were miscast. Both would-be lovers give emotionally flat performances, as they wrestle with an obvious love that we wonder if it will ever be consumated (which it does in the rainstorm climax). But by then it’s too late to save the dull film. Strangely the only reasons given by Anthony why he doesn’t marry, is that he attributes it to a family curse of being hard-headed (whatever that means). Most of the film pays more attention to who will get the farm than the romance.
It gets its truest performance from Dearbhla Molloy, playing Rosemary’s mother with the right accent and a perfect Irish characterization of a farm woman who knows herself. This and its touristy photos of its lush locations by DP Stephan Goldblatt was enough to keep things watchable and pleasant, even if not riveting.
REVIEWED ON 12/18/2020 GRADE: C+