John Patrick Shanley might not be a household name, but the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Moonstruck” (1987) has a knack for writing hilarious dialogue for star-crossed lovers. As he did with his stage play “Doubt,” Shanley adapts the screenplay for “Wild Mountain Thyme” to direct the film version.
The play’s pedestrian title “Outside Mullingar” receives only modest improvement with a tame moniker certain to limit “Wild Mountain Thyme” to audiences of a certain age who fuss over which brand of soap they use in the kitchen. It shouldn’t be so. Ignore the sappy title, and keep in mind that Emily Blunt is one of the most capable film actors on the planet. Emily Blunt is as close to a modern day Ingrid Bergman as currently exists in Cinema.
Slapstick pratfalls punctuate this delightful movie set in rural Ireland. Savor Christopher Walken’s best efforts at performing an Irish accent while you dream into this sophisticated romantic comedy about Anthony Reilly (Jamie Dornan), a painfully shy farmer stumbling toward love in the arms of his comely neighbor Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt). Inspired moments of sly humor come in barbs of regional Irish mores, coded language, and expressive ways of skirting emotional issues.
Mature date movies are rare enough to come by as it is. When one this good comes along, it’s time to grab a romantically inclined mate, and settle in for some good old-fashioned simmering Irish passion. Tears and laughs will follow.
Rated PG-13. 123 minutes.