WILD MOUNTAIN THYME is an unexpectedly weird little movie. So much so, I can’t really figure out if I liked it or not. It vacillates between being a charming little Irish rom-com to one that leans a little too far into cheesy, clichéd comedy. But it’s one of those movies I have kept thinking about (in a good way!). And as a huge fan of Jamie Dornan and Emily Blunt, I have appreciated hearing them talk about the film as being a sort of Irish fable; it helped me appreciate and understand it more… especially with an :ahem: interesting reveal at the end. And let’s be real, where else are you going to get to watch Christopher Walken trying his hand at the notoriously difficult Irish accent?
Written and directed by John Patrick Shanley—the Irish Pulitzer/Oscar/Tony award-winning writer behind DOUBT and MOONSTRUCK—the film centers around Anthony (Dornan), who has spent his life working on the family farm and hopes to one day inherit it from his father Tony (Walken). Much to Anthony’s surprise, he discovers that he is not the top contender. Tony doesn’t think his son is serious enough about his future and fears his lack of ambition and hesitancy to find a partner will hurt the family’s legacy. So he begins floating the idea of handing the farm off to his American cousin (Jon Hamm).
A tale of property rights may not sound interesting (and it isn’t), but that’s why you add a romance with Emily Blunt to the mix! Rosemary (Blunt) has been pining for Anthony since she was a little girl and continues waiting for him to notice her affection into adulthood. Now it’s up to her to encourage Anthony to let go of his insecurities and accept that they are meant to be, which could also show Tony that his son has a future! I just hope that pesky (handsome) Jon Hamm doesn’t get in the way.
The best part of the movie was the beautiful Irish cinematography and relationship between Dornan and Blunt. The film really banks on the fact that the audience will root for Blunt and Dornan to be together based on the natural charisma of the actors instead of building that up onscreen. And let’s be real, I did (especially when they sing together in the bar!!!). But I don’t know that all audience members will feel the same way. Perhaps we would have done better with less property talk and more love story.
Because of Shanley’s gift as a playwright, there were many scenes that felt more like a play (and I think would have worked better in that format). And other scenes that seemed like I was watching a completely different film. Did John Hamm really need to be in the movie and whisk Blunt’s character to NYC? No. But perhaps Shanley felt he needed a heavy hitter like Hamm to make it believable that Blunt would potentially stop pining for Dornan. Still, not my favorite.
WILD MOUNTAIN THYME is definitely a movie you should wait to stream, and even then only put on if you are in the mood for something a little whimsical and weird. I don’t think this movie will be winning any awards, but it may make a few people buy tickets to Ireland. Because if nothing else, WILD MOUNTAIN THYME is a love letter to the Emerald Isle.
My Review: C+