Irish lyricism, bluster and blarney combine in Wild Mountain Thyme. This romantic drama has the sole purpose of joining a lovelorn woman and her timid neighbour.
Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt) grew up initially doubting her purpose until her father told her she was the white swan, like in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake (which is a recurring theme in the picture). Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan) has strange thoughts and refuses to acknowledge his feelings for Rosemary. They have both watched their parents tend to their respective farms in lush central Ireland. He even goes so far as to encourage her to leave Ireland in search of greener pastures.
Meanwhile, Anthony’s father, Tony (Christopher Walken), initially resolves to leave the family farm to his brother’s son Adam (Jon Hamm), who lives in New York. That sees Adam exposed to Rosemary. A highly capable woman, Rosemary knows she’s meant to be with Anthony, but she has a hell of a job trying to convince him. An elongated scene towards the end of the movie, in which Rosemary uses all her feminine wiles to deal with Anthony’s reluctance, is my personal favourite.
Emily Blunt, who has always been a fine actor, positively shines. It may not be politically correct to say so, but I will say it anyway – she also looks absolutely beautiful. I quite liked Walken’s turn as the father whose heart softens.
Writer and director John Patrick Shanley (who won an Oscar in 1988 for writing Moonstruck) builds the movie around a very thin storyline. And for most of the film it shows. I should add that Shanley has based Wild Mountain Thyme on his own book, Outside Mullingar.
There’s just not a lot to get terribly excited about here. There’s nothing “wild” about this, just eccentric. About the only thing I suspect most will agree on is that Anthony needs a swift kick in the pants; a wake-up call to show some initiative. At times I found it hard work to watch him do nothing but daydream.
The opening aerial shots are as good as I have seen in any movie. Tourism Ireland would be proud. Perhaps Wild Mountain Thyme will have some appeal, but I would have liked to see more substance.
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.