The island of Ireland is a place known for its legends and culture, and its beauty, ever-lovingly captured in its poetry, emerald green landscapes, countered with a vibrant growing economy, all this equating to a wondrous place to visit. In 2020, a film ended up capitalising on such a rich tapestry for an amusing romantic comedy of farming life and the folks who make it happen in Wild Mountain Thyme.
Wild Mountain Time is ostensibly a tale of two farmyards; one with Rosemary and one with Anthony Riley. Rosemary is the sole inheritor of her farm and is in love with Anthony, who for some reason doesn’t seem keen to return the affection. While Anthony’s dad is reluctant to leave Anthony his farm in the will, fearing the loner will likely never marry, among other reasons. Meanwhile, a third relation from the world of American high-finance enters Adam, looking to trade in his lucrative but meaningless life for the chance to do some honest backbreaking labour. As it looks like Adam might end up with everything that Anthony wants, including the heart of Rosemary.
The one thing you won’t be complaining about is the lack of big names in this tale of farmyard romance. A couple of years after stalking the streets of Northern Ireland, Jamie Dornan, once again, is an easy choice for a protagonist for this rom-com as he is rather easy on the eye. He also manages to imbue his character with a couple of idiosyncrasies, played in just a way that doesn’t become too outlandish. The same could be said of Emily Blunt, coming from Mary Poppins and A Quiet Place, who manages to portray hard-working and in some cases headstrong Rosemary with relative ease as well. John Hamm also shines his comedic charms as the American relation wanting to trade in his world of high-finance for the back-breaking labour of the farm. Christopher Walken’s narration adds a certain charm, doubly so to see him with the rest of the cast, and not just a disembodied voice in the introduction.
Not to say that the film is stagnating, but the potential is reached when Jon Hamm enters the landscape as Adam looking to invest; around this point, the intricacies start to converge into a satisfying romantic comedy. The depictions of built-up New York is countered with the quaint splendour of the rural countryside quite frequently; seeing antiquated bridges over practically pristine lakes, where two characters can end up, evokes the charm of Ireland a lot more succinctly than I did in the introduction. For those focusing on the dramatic, the subject of character motivations enhances this rom-com with a tinge more personality than its typical contemporaries.
I suppose calling Wild Mountain Thyme a romantic comedy is the curse of categorisation. Don’t get me wrong, the film is swimming in the romance, but the comedy is less laugh out loud, more comedy adjacent and the occasional realistic smirk that surely picks up in the middle parts. Wild Mountain Thyme consists of pretty words, that match pretty pictures pulled from a postcard painting of a peculiar place. If you can stomach such sentimentality and get lost in this quirky love affair, all while wanting a romantic comedy, that defies the limitation imposed by the term, may I recommend a trip to Ireland for a Wild Mountain Thyme.
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