It's hard to believe that director John Patrick Shanley, who wrote 1987's "Moonstruck", also wrote Irish love story "Wild Mountain Thyme."
"Moonstruck" succeeded in ways that "Wild Mountain Thyme" fell short. Both involve a star-crossed love story, and both films have high-profile leads, but Shanley's latest film is lacking the strong awestruck feeling that its predecessor delivered.
Most of the film takes place on neighboring farms in Ireland. On one farm, a headstrong Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt) lives with her mom and pines for her oblivious neighbor Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan). And on the other, Anthony lives with his father Tony (Christopher Walken), who wants to sell the family farm to his American nephew (Jon Hamm). It's a romantic adventure in which Anthony is forced to face his dreams and attain them if he plucks up the courage.
WILD MOUNTAIN THYME I Official Trailer I Bleecker Street www.youtube.com
The rolling green hills are gorgeous, but it's a shame that the cast chemistry isn't as stunning. Individually, this is a fantastic cast of actors on one project. But none of them seem to strike the right chord when depicting a genuine relationship with one another. Even Blunt and Dornan don't feel right as a couple, so it's hard to root for their happiness. Giant professions and climactic scenes should feel bolder than they are if the chemistry was convincing.
And Dornan feels uncharacteristically underwhelming, especially when Jon Hamm steals the show when he arrives, shiny Rolls-Royce and all.
It's commendable that the story takes an interesting yet minor plot twist in the last act of the movie, but it's too wacky for the Irish humor and tone the movie created in the beginning.
Viewers who want to support these actors by watching this film might want to consider skipping this one unless they want to watch all the pub musical scenes in its entirety. Those almost save the movie.
"Wild Mountain Thyme" will premiere in theaters and on demand starting Friday, December 11, 2020.
Follow the reporter Samantha Incorvaia on Twitter at @s_incorvaia.