It’s incredibly hard to hate the scent of wild thyme, and Irish-born director and screenwriter John Patrick Shanley did his best to make it easy for you. His film seems to have been sponsored by the Irish Ministry of Tourism, which made Nicholas Spark jealously light on his cheeks, leading some good actors to low points in their careers, and even the Irish Republic with a string of stereotypes about residents. Goblins at the Irish Leprechaun Museum have been robbed of their patience. But the result of this mix is so crazy, it’s attractive again.
Let’s start at the beginning – a voice from the office says: “Welcome to Ireland, my name is Tom Reilly, I’m dead.” It sets the tone. Care should no longer be expected. This Reilly, who lives most of the film, is Christopher Walken, tells of two children, his son Anthony and a neighbor’s daughter, Rosemary. These two are made of each other, and you can say that they came from the same parallel universe of poorly discovered children: “Mother Nature, why did you create me like that?” Little Antony with wide eyes asks the starry sky, while Rosemary, only tall enough to look at the table, explains some of her “purpose in life”.
The two later grew up playing Jamie Dornan and Emily Blunt. They hide from each other on nearby farms, but fail to find each other until the end of a contradictory story. Only John Patrick Shanley knows what sets them apart. For example, Shanley wrote the screenplay for Norman Jason’s stunning “Moonstroke” – but here Muse must have refused to kiss him. Rosemary and Antony talk conversations as if they had created a computer program by the standard of the greatest possible unilateralism – “Let us take advantage of the sun.” – “She doesn’t feel it at all.” – “I believe it feels that way.”
There are some irritating false Irish accents in the original
Otherwise, if you do not suddenly hear Swan Lake, you can always hear the Irish folk toss, people dressed strangely and pretending to have passed Ireland for the last fifty years. It’s like a filmmaker asking about the beauty of Upper Bavaria to buy contemporary alpine inhabitants, listening to brass band music from a gramophone in the evenings using a tiled stove in Lederhausen.
But John Patrick Shanley does not end up in gender stereotypes. Another pearl of conversation, Rosemary has already met a chic New Yorker: “Why do you want me to smell like a lily?” Then Rosemary: “Men should stink like you.” Is it already ridiculous or can it go away? Oh, by the way: there are definitely movies you shouldn’t see in the original, and “The Fragrance of Wild Thyme” is one of them, because then there will be very irritating false Irish accents. Bad movies can play badly by betraying their end – but in this case it is impossible. At the end of “The Fragrance of Wild Thyme” Antony’s astonishing explanation of the plight rejects the description.
Wild Maintain Thyme, USA 2020 – Director, Written by: John Patrick Shanley. Camera: Stephen Goldblatt. Starring: Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, Christopher Walken, John Hamm. On DVD. Caplite, 102 min.