When watching the trailer for Wild Mountain Thyme I thought, “Well, this looks adorable and fun. Who doesn’t love a film with interesting accents and a love story.” The movie is billed as a rom-com and, if you’re like me, you enjoy a slice of life heartfelt love story a la Far and Away, Little Women, or even Once. However, that is not what I got.
Wild Mountain Thyme
Wild Mountain Thyme is a film adaptation of John Patrick Shanley’s play, “Outside Mullingar” starring Jamie Dornan (50 Shades of Grey), Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), and Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can) that tells the story of quiet and awkward Anthony (Dornan) and an outspoken, no-nonsense Rosemary (Blunt) who have grown up on adjoining farms and not-so-secretly are in love with each other. However, for reasons unbeknownst to us in the beginning, they have yet to even acknowledge their mutual affection for each other and we have to wait for the full length of the film to find out why. However, that’s not where the drama ends folks. Anthony’s father (Walken) threatens to pass the family farm down to Anthony’s American cousin, Adam (Hamm) since Anthony reminds him of his late wife’s crazy side of the family and most likely will not settle down with a family. Of course, Adam is smitten with Rosemary acting as the catalyst for the pair to finally confront their feelings.
On paper and in the trailer, this story sounds charming. I love a good family drama mixed with a rom-com love story! However, the film fails in execution in multiple ways.
Let’s Talk About The Accents
First off, as many other reviewers before me have said – let’s talk about the accents. Why anyone thought Christopher Walken could do any kind of Irish lilt with his signature cadence baffles me. When he speaks it’s so distracting that it rips you right out of the moment. Jamie Dornan, who is Irish, is asked to do a very localized accent which somehow is worse than Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Boston” accent in The Departed. I was really worried for a second my love for Jon Hamm would dwindle because of an atrocious Irish accent, but thank goodness he plays a smarmy American and all is okay. Then we have the bright shining star, Emily Blunt, who, for me, is the only Actor who sounds lovely and out-performs every other person in the film. Seriously, without her, the film would have been unwatchable.
Now, I don’t say all this because I feel an Irish accent is super easy. I was asked to do a Yorkshire Accent for my local community theater versions of The Secret Garden. That tape shall never see the light of day. However, writer/director John Patrick Shanley, who has heard and defended the accent criticism in an interview with Variety said that if the actors sounded like his relatives then no one would understand them. “You have to make the accent more accessible to a global audience.” Well, Mr. Shanley, if you want a “global” Irish accent then just have everyone speak like the Lucky Charms Leprechaun and move on with your day.
The Overall Feel Of The Film
As I mentioned above, Wild Mountain Thyme is based on a play, and boy does the film feel like it. The shots are stagnant – outside of the sweeping moments of the Irish Countryside. The characters are oddly one-dimensional with very little substance and I’m honestly unsure if it’s a writing issue or a lack of specificity on the actors’ part. Jamie Dornan while discussing the film in an interview said he enjoyed tapping into the “oddness” of his character and that, “…Anthony is probably on the spectrum in some way.” Well, sir, is he or isn’t he? That’s a question you need to know the answer to and it’s glaringly obvious that he never chose one way or the other. Dornan isn’t the only actor I feel this way about, however. This is also the first time I have ever felt Jon Hamm phoned something in.
As actors, we know Emily, Jamie, and Jon are talented, charming, and loveable on-screen. Unfortunately, Wild Mountain Thyme didn’t do them any favors and the dazzle we’ve come to know and love from them just didn’t translate.
One Last Thing
Something else I MUST discuss, and this is a spoiler if you have not seen the film is that TWIST ENDING of the film. Let me tell you, it is a TWIST. If you don’t wanna know stop reading.
After all the mayhem ensues, Rosemary fully confronts Anthony about their love for each other and we get the WILDEST confession I have ever heard. The reason why Anthony is afraid to confess his feelings to Rosemary is that he believes he is a BEE. Yes, a freaking bumblebee! At this point in the film, I didn’t know if I should laugh or feel sorry for him because the entire film has been so ridiculous up to this point. And here’s the kicker – Rosemary is perfectly fine with it, asking Anthony how to make him STING HER. I’m not making this up folks. How Emily said these lines with a straight face just continues to prove how amazing of an actress she is.