Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt) and Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan) have lived near one another all their lives, on neighboring family farms in Ireland. Rosemary has been madly in love with Anthony ever since they were children. But after he chose their friend Fiona over her, Rosemary and Anthony didn’t see as much of one another. However, her passion for him has never waned, and burns even brighter decades later. Rosemary’s father passed away a few years earlier, and now she just lives with her mother, Aoife (Dearbhla Molloy), running the farm on her own. Rosemary has never gotten married because her heart only belongs to the one man who doesn’t seem to want it. She hopes that one day Anthony will wake up and notice her. Meanwhile, down the road, Anthony lives with his father Tony (Christopher Walken). Tony is ailing, and thinking about what he wants his legacy to be. The farm has been in the family for 121 years, and he worries that if he left it to Anthony, it would die off along with the family name. Anthony has made it clear that he has no plans to settle down and get married. While Tony can easily see that Rosemary is pining away for his son, Anthony remains oblivious. And so Tony contemplates selling the farm to his nephew Adam (Jon Hamm), a successful American money manager, who is keen on the idea of taking an Irish wife and owning a farm (even though he has probably never done a days worth of physical labor in his life). Anthony is insulted that his father would not leave the farm to him, but this may be the wakeup call he needs to help him think about his future, what his dreams are, and whether or not he should propose to Rosemary.
Wild Mountain Thyme is a wild, and offbeat romantic comedy from writer/director John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck). It was not very surprising to discover afterwards that the film had been adapted from a play (“Outside Mullingar”, also written by Shanley). The movie is very dialogue-driven with the characters having long discussions (or, more often, arguments) in a single location. The scenes feel more like well-choreographed dances between the characters with such witty, humorous, and delightful dialogue. Add to that the beautiful Irish landscape, and lots of rain, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect romantic comedy.
The film opens with a narration from the then-deceased Tony Reilly, setting the scene for this this tale of the two family farms and the star-crossed lovers that reside there. It was a bit odd at first hearing that all-too-familiar Christopher Walken cadence, but now with an added Irish brogue. However, Walken is hilarious and perfectly cast. Also amazing are the two leads. Emily Blunt is delightful as this headstrong woman who still holds a grudge from 20 years earlier when Anthony chose someone else over her. Rosemary’s father once told her she was a queen and a swan, and she took that to heart. However, she can’t fight her feelings and ultimately doesn’t want to give up on love. For Anthony, being a farmer is not necessarily the life he always dreamed of, but he couldn’t see himself doing anything else. The farm can feel like a prison at times, but at the same time, the beauty of the green fields and the animals living off the land is what really keeps him there. Jamie Dornan is brilliant as this charmingly dorky and clueless man who wouldn’t know love if it smacked him in the face (and Rosemary did just that when they were younger). He is also great at delivering the physical humor, whether it’s Anthony slipping in the field, or constantly getting drenched by the rain (and I mean over-the-top, ridiculously absurd and comical amounts of rain). The two actors have such great on-screen chemistry even as it seems like their characters will never get together.
In addition to the main cast, this town is also filled with lots of other quirky, oddball characters. My favorite is town gossip Cleary (Barry McGovern), who sees Anthony from a distance as he is practicing a proposal with a goat. This causes Cleary to spread the rumor that Anthony is really in love with his animal—a fact that keeps popping back up in discussions that haunt Anthony over and over again throughout the film.
While this is a really beautiful looking film, Universal’s DVD presentation unfortunately leaves a lot to be desired. The film takes place in such a picturesque locale, but the SD picture quality of the DVD doesn’t do it justice. There is often a lack of clarity and detail, and the colors can be a bit muted at times. Just looking at the trailer embedded below, it is easy to see that the picture quality has so much more potential in HD. (I definitely plan to pick this up on digital at some point.) Fortunately, the audio fares a lot better. Whether its the film’s beautiful Irish score, the ambiance of animals and nature, or the loud crashing of thunder, there’s always some interesting sound to fill the room and make the viewing experience more immersive. In addition, the dialogue remains clear throughout. The DVD disc is packed in a standard DVD keepcase along with a slipcover, and doesn’t include any bonus material or a digital copy.
- 480i / Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
- Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DVS (Descriptive Video Service)
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
There is no bonus material included on this release.
Wild Mountain Thyme is a fun, delightful romantic comedy, with an excellent cast, and snappy, witty and often hilarious dialogue. The film is set in a such a beautiful locale, but the DVD presentation doesn’t do it justice. The film itself comes highly recommended, but, as there is no Blu-ray release, I would suggest picking up the HD digital release instead of the SD DVD, so that you can fully enjoy the film’s splendorous Irish setting, which itself is a main character.