A getting-of-wisdom tale about a troubled young Irish woman’s struggles with life, love, friendship and the consequences of a booze-fuelled act of rage.
Mary’s just out of prison when we first meet her. We eventually learn what her offence was, but this story is not interested in the past except to the extent that Mary wants it back, especially the bit where she and her bestie were the cool wild fun girls about town. But the bestie’s gone all respectable and sober. She’s getting married soon and Mary’s got to clean up her act if she wants to be number one bridesmaid or even stay on the invitation list.
Everyone’s moved on except Mary, who’s got a lot of growing up to do. There’s something I really like about Irish storytelling. It’s not just the familiar charming idioms such as we saw in ‘Brooklyn’ or ‘Angela’s Ashes’. The Irish have a knack of tackling the grittiest of subjects – poverty, crime, family dysfunction, aberrant sexuality – with an unsentimental humour and a clear-eyed humanity that even the Brits don’t always achieve and that you rarely see in the products of Hollywood. Mary isn’t an altogether sympathetic character but we do want her to succeed: to wise up, to lose her attitude, to understand the true nature and value of family, friendship and loyalty, and to find love. Five stars from me!