Rosemary (Emily Blunt) has loved neighbor farm boy Anthony (Jamie Dornan) ever since they were wee children in the Irish countryside. But a misunderstood love rivalry with another girl has led them to grow up as grumpy single farmers with a symbolic fence between their land. Anthony’s dad (Christopher Walken, sporting an every-now-and-then Irish accent) is convinced that his son is “not the marrying kind” because he has inherited the other side of the family’s affliction for being odd. Or something. Meanwhile Rosemary pines for him, as he does dorky things like talk to donkeys and fall out of rowboats.
When aging dad suddenly looks at his son and admits that he offered the farm for sale to a dashing American cousin Adam (Jon Hamm), Anthony is torn between feeling like he has to get married or else losing the family farm. The movie flails and flaps about as Anthony quickly fails in what should be an easy task when he loses his mom’s wedding ring, and figures game over (after all, again, he is cursed to not marry), until Rosemary practically wrestles the poor man into submission is a stagey 20-minute scene of the two of them bantering… or rather, she being pushy rather than flirty and him being basically terrified of her sudden aggressiveness. It’s not hot.
John Patrick Shanley, who we are oft reminded wrote the crisp, funny, classic screenplay for Moonstruck many years ago, has taken it upon himself to direct Wild Mountain Thyme based on his own stage play. I’d say he can’t reel in his own beast to transfer it to film, but the storyline is so clunky that I wondered if it worked on stage either. The first half is ponderously slow and sort of depressing, then there is that 20-minute completely out of place scene, that is quickly followed by the skies parting and… well, I don’t want to spoil it or anything, but if you are going to stick around, do so merely for the new Sinead O’Connor song over the closing credits.
If dad wanted to keep the dignity of the farm in the family, why would he sell it to a numbers guy from shiny New York that has no calluses? We are teased that Anthony has a dark secret that keeps him unmarriageable (other than a family curse, I guess) but when his cutesy reason when finally revealed it is so ridiculously weird that it is sort of anti-climactic. And the symbolic fence between the two properties, keeping the meant-to-be lovers apart? Shoot, looking back on it, just tear that shit down then the movie would be over faster.