Review: A Date for Mad Mary

Seána Kerslake in A Date for Mad Mary

A Date for Mad Mary is an Irish movie. Mary is mad as in angry, but she also behaves in ways that the people she most wants to impress consider mad. She drinks to hide her pain and that leads to acts of violence that get her in big trouble.

A Date for Mad Mary begins with Mary (Seána Kerslake) being released from jail. Her mother (Denise McCormack) is late to pick her up. They are none too happy to see each other. It takes only a few quickly drawn moments with Mary’s family to realize that’s part of what made her so angry.

Seána Kerslake and Charleigh Bailey  in A Date for Mad Mary
Mary and Charlene in a rare moment of intimate conversation

Mary is scheduled to be the maid of honor at Charlene’s (Charleigh Bailey) wedding. Mary wants to be close to Charlene, do things they used to do growing up, but Charlene is concerned with her new life. She’s pulling away from Mary, who was in jail for 6 months.

Mary decides it will look good to Charlene if she brings a date to the wedding. Dating has never been her thing. She finds an online dating service and begins interviewing (er, dating) men. None make it past the first few minutes.

Mary meets Jess (Tara Lee), who will photograph the wedding. They click. They talk. They are thrown together.

Seána Kerslake and Tara Lee in A Date for Mad Mary
What have we done?

They eventually spend a night together. Mary is terrified by her feelings and of course messes up the situation, perhaps not hopelessly, but badly. Jess realizes Mary is obsessed with Charlene, the one love that has sustained her all her life.

While Mary and Jess are still exploring and feeling their way toward each other we get to hear Tara Lee sing, which was a treat. You can listen to her work on Spotify and YouTube.

As the relationship with Jess wobbled this way and that, it became clear that Mary’s anger, drinking, and inappropriate aggression were tied up with her lack of self awareness regarding her sexuality.

Perhaps realizing she has to let Charlene go and acknowledging her true feelings toward Jess will take Mary to a less angry place. That’s what I hoped for her as she struggled to deal with her imperfect life.

Seána Kerslake did an excellent job leading this film. Mary is a troubled young woman, but Kerslake makes her likeable and understandable. She was at the center of every scene. She is wonderful with the quiet, telling, moments of self-awareness. She won some acting awards for this 2016 film, which were well deserved.

A Date for Mad Mary is streaming on Prime Video.

A Date for Mad Mary poster

Here’s a preview of A Date for Mad Mary.

Have you seen this film? Did it speak to you at all?

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