Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A Date for Mad Mary - The Angriest Girl in all of Ireland

While the online world is abuzz with questions from Star Wars : The Last Jedi (such as who are Rey's parents and who pays for all that stuff bratty, tantrum prone Kylo Ren destroys?), I'm here to tell you about an Irish indie that just made it's streaming debut in the U.S. recently.

"Mad" Mary Mcardle (Seana Kerslake) has recently returned to her hometown of Drogheda after a short stint in prison. The details about why she was there and for how long are kept vague but the why is pretty obvious. Mary is an angry young woman who will jump into a fight at even the slightest side eye glance and prison doesn't seem to have made her any different. The set up that drives the plot is that Mary is still invited to be maid of honor at the wedding of her best friend, Charlene (Charliegh Bailey) and she needs s plus one date. What could be the problem? Who doesn't want to date a crude, violently angry ex-con?

You may think this is all leading to some possibly wacky comedy about setting Mad Mary up on a date but fortunately you are wrong. There are some amusing scenes of Mary on a series of dates arranged buy a local dating service but the comedy pulls back just in time before becoming silly. Most of the early part of the movie informs us about Mary's family and her relationship with Charlene. Mary lives with her mother who is the never growing up party girl you might have to keep an eye on around your male friends. Also part of the household is grandma who is shown exclusively in a living room chair with a pint always in hand giving Mary dating advice such as "A fucking sniper wouldn't take you out" (hey, it's Ireland). Charlene is the most unlikely of friends with Mary. She obviously still cares but hold's Mary at a safe distance, like a time bomb that might go off at any minute and ruin her wedding.

Does Mary find her wedding date? Almost. Enter Jess (Tara Lee), Charlene's wedding photographer. Not aware of Mary's reputation, the two strike up a genuine friendship that with a slow burn develops into a loosely defined romance. Is Mary a lesbian? We don't know and honestly neither does she. It's seems just as likely that she is drawn toward the genuine affection since she has alienated everyone else. Don't get any warm ideas that Jess will "save" Mary. As a viewer you will experience this relationship like walking on egg shells because certainly Mary is going to mess this up(?).

All in all this was a very enjoyable movie. Seana Kerslake is amazing. Mary could be a thoroughly unlikable character but Kerslake brings out the needy and actually charming person beneath. You may be turned off by her antics at one moment and then the next say "well played Mary" when she angrily calls out someone for being fake or dishonest. The Irish setting is portrayed in an honest way that doesn't feel like it's trading on stereotypes and making fun of the residents of Drogheda (it's a joy to hear characters with the proper accents say that word by the way).

One slight spoiler alert. Turn on your subtitles. The accents are thick and the Irish slang comes at a fast pace. Without them you may miss some dialogue that is sums up the pure talent the Irish have for profanity laced insults.


Unknown said...

Not much for me to look forward to movie wise in 2018! Great list though.