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Is The Emily Blunt Starrer 'Wild Mountain Thyme' Worth Your Time?

Wild Mountain Thyme Jamie Dornan Anthony Reilly Emily Blunt Rosemary Muldoon Bleeker Street
Bleeker Street / Lionsgate

I do not know what I was expecting when I decided to dish out some extra money to rent “Wild Mountain Thyme” without watching the trailer. The synopsis appeared to house a sweeping romance with an exquisite atmosphere. A love triangle seemed likely to figure into things too. What the Emily Blunt starrer provides is a far more poignant and perplexing movie than I expected.

The script for “Wild Mountain Thyme” seems like something from another era, precisely the ’90s. In actuality, it is an adaptation of the 2014 play “Outside Mullingar.” The movie accordingly centers around Rosemary (Emily Blunt), a woman who has been lovestruck by Anthony (Jamie Dornan, “Fifty Shades of Grey”) since they were kids. Their families own neighboring farms, leading their fates to get intertwined with one another.

Contrary to trope-lore, there is no bitter rivalry between the families. At play instead is Rosemary and Anthony’s living parents getting older. The situation puts the future of their farms at stake while also underscoring their children's need to finally take action in their lives, a theme similarly explored in “North & South.” The parents’ reflective storyline makes the movie strikingly emotional, and quite frankly, brimming with sadness.

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Driving “Wild Mountain Thyme” is Anthony’s father, Tony (Christopher Walken), who feels his days are coming to an end. Tony wants to leave the farm to his nephew because he believes that Anthony will never marry or have children to continue the farm’s legacy. “Yellowstone” fans will be familiar with that issue. Not on that TV show’s menu is the “curious case” of Anthony Riley.

You see, Anthony -- a grown man -- has no inclination that Rosemary has been madly in love with him for 30-some years. Meanwhile, Rosemary has contented herself with waiting for him to realize this. That is until she decides to take a leap. The arrival of Anthony’s charming cousin Adam (a scene-stealing Jon Hamm) serves as a turning point for Rosemary and Anthony.

Amid all of this is the core of “Wild Mountain Thyme.” A burning question that Adam stirs. Why on earth does Anthony not want to be with Rosemary? It is impossible to figure out, as is why Rosemary likes Anthony in the first place. He is not the most endearing person. And why has Rosemary not pushed harder to ascertain why Anthony has no interest in her?

Not helping Anthony is that Emily Blunt is playing Rosemary. A more likable actress does not exist. As she has proven repeatedly, Blunt is a megawatt movie star with all that goes with it. She has the innate ability to elevate a movie and warm up the coldest script. “Wild Mountain Thyme” is one of her warmer ones despite the contextual strangeness. 

Instead of getting to play a love story on Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s level, Emily Blunt gets left to charm-up Rosemary and Anthony’s uncomfortable love affair. Anthony is no Prince Albert, while Blunt is every bit as loveable as she was in “Young Victoria.” It makes this lopsided romance all the more head-scratching. 

“Wild Mountain Thyme” teases Anthony’s inexplicable disregard for Rosemary without any rational person, demanding an answer from him point-blank. Anthony gets periodically pressured by his father, although he always manages to squirm out of it. So, the question lingers like a bad itch that takes a long time to scratch. 

To his credit, Jamie Dornan again proves his acting prowess. Dornan has assertively played a serial killer (a career-best) and the controversial Christian Grey. With “Wild Mountain Thyme,” Dornan can add another feather to his hat. Anthony is a peculiar character who provides no natural footholds to likability. To his credit, it is an uphill battle that Dornan wins more than other actors could.

A superb cast, a breathtaking backdrop, and a moving soundtrack (a must for romantically-centered films). What could go wrong? Nothing goes “wrong,” per se. It is a romance that one must brace themselves for. There is no “Far from the Madding Crowd” set in modern times to get found here. “Wild Mountain Thyme” is something else entirely.

Rating: 6/10

You can rent “Wild Mountain Thyme” on Amazon Prime Video, and while you are there, you may want to check out some of the great things the streamer has to offer. Hint: There is a fantastic historical drama you have heard of that is currently streaming.

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