Directed by: John Patrick Shanley
Premise: Set in rural Ireland, an elderly farmer (Christopher Walken) threatens to sell his land to an American relative instead of his own son (Jamie Dornan) who fancies the neighbor (Emily Blunt).
What Works: Wild Mountain Thyme takes place in rural Ireland and the film is well shot by cinematographer Stephen Goldblatt. The landscape is beautifully photographed and the imagery has a gritty feel for the agrarian lives of its characters. One of the few actors to get out of Wild Mountain Thyme without embarrassing himself is John Hamm. He’s playing to type as an American businessman and Hamm has a capacity for comedy that serves him well here.
What Doesn’t: Everything about Wild Mountain Thyme is artificial and unbelievable, starting with the cast. The movie takes place in Ireland but Wild Mountain Thyme is full of non-Irish actors and they aren’t fooling anybody, least of all Christopher Walken. Virtually everybody is terrible in this film, even Emily Blunt who is usually a reliable actress. Faulty accents aside, the actors are stuck with an impossible script. Wild Mountain Thyme was written and directed by John Patrick Shanley who had previously scripted Moonstruck and Doubt. Those movies were great but they were also set in a very different world from Wild Mountain Thyme and Shanley comes across as a filmmaker working outside of his area of experience and hasn’t done his homework. The film’s sense of place has about as much to do with Ireland as an American St. Patrick’s Day parade and the characters are Irish stereotypes who have the emotional maturity of a fifth grader. Wild Mountain Thyme is especially odious in its regard for rural people. This is the kind of Hollywood film that thinks country folk are cute simpletons and Wild Mountain Thyme brings to mind Donald Clark’s review of 2010’s Leap Year in which he concluded that “Hollywood is incapable of seeing the Irish as anything but IRA men or twinkly rural imbeciles.” Wild Mountain Thyme attempts to be wacky and quirky but it just comes off stupid and obnoxious. The story is especially tortured with off-the-wall plot turns such as Emily Blunt’s character jetting to New York City for forty-eight hours on a whim. Wild Mountain Thyme concludes with a bonkers last minute reveal that would be funny if it wasn’t intended to taken seriously.
Bottom Line: Wild Mountain Thyme is a disaster. Virtually every filmmaking choice is the wrong one and the movie is both clumsy and insultingly stupid.
Episode: #842 (March 7, 2021)