MOVIE REVIEW: A Date for Mad Mary

A young Irish girl, with some serious anger control issues, is released from jail after six months and has to fit back in with the life that she left behind. This is an Irish movie that is all about trying to figure out who you are and finding your peace.

Let us make one thing clear here. I’m not giving this film a perfect score simply because it’s Irish and I’m Irish, and all Irish things are awesome. This film is awesome, and I’m awesome, that much is true, but there are a lot of Irish films that come out that are far from good. Some struggle to be mediocre. I am giving this film a five by five because I loved watching every minute of the film. It doesn’t complicate the story, the main characters are easily identifiable, and the script is just honest.

So the story. Mary is a character that I know because where I grew up in Dublin there were a lot of girls like her. Quick off the mark if someone looks at them the wrong way, quick with their fists too when it comes to it, and it’s always someone else’s fault when caught acting up. She’s being released from jail close to the time of her best friends wedding and through the story we find out why she went in. After she comes out she notices that her best friend is still her best friend but refuses to go out with her and has become one of the worst Bridezilla’s that Ireland has ever seen. Mary starts to look for a date for the wedding as she wants to try to fit in, but not really, so she’s just looking for arm candy to get in and then get out. An unlikely friendship with the wedding photographer Jess, who is a singer in a band, leads to Mary finding something that she didn’t expect but brings her a piece of calm. But it’s hard for her to change her ways.

Seana Kerslake as Mary deserves to be raised up as one of Ireland’s future talents and her performance here is flawless. She pitches Mary as lost and lonely in one scene, confident in another, then a violent streak will show through out of nowhere. The majority of the cast here do amazing work supporting Seana, but to be honest it’s her movie. The script is beautifully sensitive and funny, for a drama you are kept on the edge of your seat with tension, with is amazingly rare and wonderful.

Most dramas of this type you write in your head as you’re watching them, you can be about one minute to five minutes ahead of the film, and those types of film are horrid for me. I want to go into the cinema and be lost in someone else’s creation. I want to go in and forget the outside. Forget the reality. A Date for Mad Mary did that for me. For the short running time I didn’t care about anything other than Mary and her friends and family. I laughed out loud when her Grandmother made a joke towards her Mother. I honestly felt true caring for Mary as she tries to do the right thing. Also I felt proud of Mary as she moves forward through the film. They manage to give the character a direction, while still being stuck in the behaviour of the past, which led to going to jail, but each character evolves through the film.

The filming work and soundtrack are fine, it’s the emotional connection, and the character building, that makes you just lose yourself in the story of Mad Mary. There are Irish films that mean a lot to me, like The Commitments, The Snapper, The Butchers Boy, The Quiet Man, and many more that at nearly four in the morning I can’t remember. I’m so happy that A Date for Mad Mary has come into my life and you all should run out after reading this review and support this film in theatres and home viewing. This sort of film making has to be supported. Bravo to all involved, BRAVO!

Director: Darren Thornton
Writers: Colin Thornton, Darren Thornton
Stars: Seána Kerslake, Tara Lee, Charleigh Bailey

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