Wild Mountain Thyme: Recap And What The Twist Is
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    Everyone Is Talking About How Weird "Wild Mountain Thyme" Is, So I Had To Watch It

    It's like if Normal People and Bee Movie had a baby.

    🚨This post contains spoilers for Wild Mountain Thyme — strap in, because it's a hell of a ride.🚨

    Wild Mountain Thyme is a romance written and directed by Oscar-winner John Patrick Shanley, set in Ireland and starring Jamie Dornan, Emily Blunt, and perhaps the most bizarre plot twist of all time.

    Wild Mountain Thyme still: Jamie Dornan stands behind a wooden fence and Emily Blunt stands in front of it
    Bleecker Street

    If you've heard of it, chances are you know what that plot twist is. And if you haven't — well, just you wait.

    When I saw the trailer for Wild Mountain Thyme I was struck first of all by the terrible Irish accents, and second of all by how it felt like it was created in about 2004.

    View this video on YouTube

    Bleecker Street / youtube.com

    It looked bland and innocuous, entirely predictable, and something I would watch when I couldn't sleep at 2am, in the vein of Chesapeake Shores or Virgin River.

    I didn't give it much more thought until I read a review that revealed The Twist and suddenly it was all I could think about. I had to see this movie. Immediately.

    What follows is a true account of my experiences.

    The movie opens with soaring music and stunning shots of Ireland that reminded me how much I want to travel and how very much that's not a possibility right now. But my eyes enjoyed all the green!

    An Irish coastline
    Bleecker Street

    Then Christopher Walken, in whatever accent he is doing (certainly not any kind of recognizable Irish one), chimes in with his narration, and perhaps the most iconic opening line of the last decade at least.

    Shots of a road winding between green fields, with the text "Welcome. Welcome to Ireland. My name's Tony Reilly. I'm dead."
    Bleecker Street

    Yep. He's dead. He is the father of Jamie Dornan's character, Anthony, and he is IN the movie, but he tells us at the outset he's dead. Immediately you know this is not your average romance movie.

    Dead Christopher Walken tells us about two adjoining farms and the families that live on them — the Muldoons, including their daughter Rosemary (Emily Blunt as an adult), and his own, the Reillys, including his son Anthony.

    A small boy saying "why did you make me so?"
    Bleecker Street

    We get our first bit of FORESHADOWING as a young Anthony prays to God asking why he made him the way he is.

    The Way He Is is important for Plot Twist reasons.

    Here's another piece of foreshadowing, presented without comment:

    A small boy leaning into a flower to smell it.
    Bleecker Street

    Dead Christopher Walken tells us Rosemary is already in love with Anthony. Anthony seems pretty oblivious to Rosemary's feelings and is into some girl called Fiona. Rosemary gets all sad, and her dad tells her not to be so glum because she's a swan queen — the unstoppable white swan — and he plays Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake for her. This will come up again later. Rosemary dances around her front garden like a swan, and we cut to a grown Rosemary (ie Emily Blunt) riding a horse through that beautiful green Irish countryside.

    We then meet a grown Anthony opening some gates in the rain. These gates belong to the Muldoons, but the Reillys need to use them to access their own property, and there is a significant amount of screentime dedicated to opening, closing, and discussing these gates, which never really goes anywhere.

    Jamie Dornan's character, Anthony, opening a metal gate in the rain
    Bleecker Street

    It's also worth noting here that Anthony spends about 97% of the movie wet. He's either in the actual rain, or has just come in from the rain, or is falling in the river, or finding some other way to be wet. Jamie Dornan showed up to hair and makeup every day to just be absolutely doused in water, it seems.

    Next, in a sequence that makes the movie's origins as a play very apparent, we spend a good portion of the first act in the Reillys' kitchen, as characters walk in and out of it and have various conversations.

    Anthony looking in the mirror saying "how's my face?"
    Bleecker Street

    Rosemary's father has just died and she and her mother visit the Reillys after the funeral. Mama Reilly, meanwhile, is already dead.

    The characters say a lot of words, the most important of which refer to the fact that Tony Reilly (that'd be Christopher Walken, not yet dead) is waiting for Anthony to hurry up and get married so he knows the family farm will be secure for the future. Despite being given his mother's ring three years earlier, Anthony seems determined not to marry, for no apparent reason.

    There's also a bit where Rosemary is smoking her father's pipe, and Anthony clearly hates the smoke, which is FORESHADOWING.

    That night, Rosemary's horse escapes — a recurring theme — and when she finally catches it, she happens upon Anthony in a boat on the nearby river.

    Emily Blunt's character, Rosemary, standing next to her horse
    Bleecker Street

    He appears to be talking to thin air. This is important for Plot Twist reasons.

    Anthony standing in a boat and gesturing to the air.
    Bleecker Street


    Then he swats at the air (FORESHADOWING) with his oar and falls into the river, because he's been dry for about 30 seconds and that just isn't on.

    Anthony falling out of the boat
    Bleecker Street

    To his credit, and good luck due to how often he is damp in this movie, Jamie Dornan looks very good wet.

    Close-up of Anthony looking wet
    Bleecker Street

    Anthony tells Rosemary about why he stays on the farm, and it's all rather poetic — something about the animals and the greenery (the greenery IS very nice). He also tells Rosemary he's mad (FORESHADOWING!).

    Rosemary is extremely horny for all of it.

    Rosemary saying "I know I must have him, God help me"
    Bleecker Street

    Being horny for Anthony is in fact her defining character trait. She literally spends the whole movie — her entire life — just waiting around for him to ask her out. And boys does he make her wait.

    We get some more FORESHADOWING when Anthony sees a bee in his kitchen and uses a glass and some letters to gently escort it outside (if you don't already know it, have you guessed the Plot Twist yet?).

    Anthony trapping a bee in a glass
    Bleecker Street

    The letter, meanwhile, turns out to be from Anthony's American cousin, Adam. Not-Yet-Dead Christopher Walken wants to sell him the farm, because he believes Anthony will never father children and he wants someone who will continue the Reilly name to own it.

    This extremely old fashioned plot point adds to the confusion over what time period this is set in — there's modern technology, for the most part, but no one uses a mobile phone, and they all dress like it's 1939. Because Ireland, I guess?

    Anthony decides to get over whatever is holding him back with Rosemary, and practices proposing with a donkey. A neighbor spots him, and news spreads through the village that this weirdo is actually in love with the donkey.

    Anthony kneeling in front of a donkey in a field
    Bleecker Street

    Believe it or not, this is less strange than the actual Plot Twist.

    Rosemary finds out Not-Yet-Dead Christopher Walken is selling the farm, and yells at him, asking him to just wait forever for Anthony to propose to her like she is doing. She even offers to freeze her eggs to ensure the family line.

    Rosemary saying to Tony "if it comes to that, I'll freeze my eggs!"
    Bleecker Street


    Anthony goes to Rosemary's house but walks away before he can muster the courage to propose, and then, as a documentary about bees plays in the background (FORESHADOWING), he tells his father to sell the farm because he never will marry.

    Tony sits on a chair in the living room, Anthony stands by the door saying "I'll never marry"
    Bleecker Street

    At the pub, Rosemary sings a song about wild mountain thyme that I guess gave the movie its title. It was Anthony's mother's favorite song.

    Rosemary sings into a microphone, the caption reads "And the wild mountain thyme"
    Bleecker Street

    Anthony is not there to witness her sing it, but she does make Not-Yet-Dead Christopher Walken cry.

    Anthony is off hanging out with a woman (who is maybe Fiona? But I'm not entirely sure and don't entirely care). He tells her he has a "teeny tininess" in his brain, and divulges his secret to her (whispering — we don't hear it) and she laughs so hard she falls off the brick wall they're sitting on (FORSHADOWING).

    Anthony's American cousin Adam shows up, and it turns out he's Jon Hamm!

    Jon Hamm's character, Adam, looks concerned
    Bleecker Street

    He rents a Rolls Royce to drive to the farm, because he is American and therefore an impractical show-off, apparently. Just to reinforce this, he also gives Anthony a white raincoat.

    Anthony dons the white raincoat and walks through the green fields with a metal detector. We do not yet know why. It's chalked up to just another weird thing he's doing.

    Anthony wears a raincoat and uses a metal detector in a field
    Bleecker Street

    [Jughead voice] He's a weirdo, okay!

    Anthony's American cousin Adam puts pressure on Rosemary to sell him the land with the gates, presumably so that when he owns the Reilly farm he won't have to deal with said gates.

    Adam says to Rosemary "Are you going to sell me that land?"
    Bleecker Street

    There's some light flirtation thrown in the mix, and Adam tells her to visit him in New York, as you do with someone you've just met.

    Adam then goes with Anthony in his new white raincoat to feed some cows.

    And Rosemary's mother dies.

    The rom-com marketing of this movie was misleading for so many reasons.

    Rosemary's mother's death is immediately followed by Not-Yet-Dead Christopher Walken becoming Actually Dead.

    Tony tells Anthony he never felt anything for his mother
    Bleecker Street

    On his death bed, he tells Anthony he never loved his mother. It's all very bleak. He mentions the Wild Mountain Thyme song "saving" him one day, and promises Anthony it will save him too.

    (Side note: Christopher Walken saying "mam" and "mammy" is just about the most unnatural sound on Earth).

    Rosemary and Anthony have a long chat and he tells her to leave town and stop waiting for him, and she's all MAYBE I WILL, and then she does.

    Rosemary stands in her front doorway wrapped in a blanket
    Bleecker Street

    After dancing around her front garden like a swan again, she "takes off" and we get her POV as a metaphorical (?) swan flying over the stunning Irish greenery, before we cut to a plane and then Rosemary is in New York with Anthony's American cousin Adam.

    He takes her to see Swan Lake, and she imagines herself as a child dancing on the stage. At dinner, he suggests he maybe wants to propose to her, and she says she hasn't given up on her childhood dream yet (that'd be Anthony getting over himself and asking her out). They kiss anyway, and Rosemary heads back to Ireland. After one entire day in New York.

    Her flying to New York for one day is, like, only the 10th most insane thing that happens in this movie.

    Adam calls Anthony and tells him he's coming to Ireland to propose to Rosemary. We then move to a very, very long conversation between Rosemary and Anthony, in which they say SO MANY words but only manage to attach clear meaning to about 30% of them.

    A wet Anthony looks at Rosemary as she pours him a drink in her kitchen
    Bleecker Street

    Of course, Anthony is wet for the entire exchange.

    Rosemary tells Anthony she is extremely depressed and suicidal, basically because of him, and he's like "we all have anxiety" and what follows is the most bananas piece of dialogue (at least, until the Plot Twist):

    Rosmary says "I think it's worse in a man, I can't stand a man with feelings"; Anthony says "a man with feelings should be put down", Rosemary says "can I make you a sandwich?"
    Bleecker Street

    These are not fake subs, I swear.

    Anthony swiftly moves on from the whole Rosemary-is-suicidal portion of the conversation to tell her that he's thinking of giving her away to his American cousin Adam, like she's some kind of prize cow.

    Anthony tells Rosemary his cousin Adam is coming from America to look for a wife and Anthony is going to let him "take a look" at her
    Bleecker Street

    This is meant to be a romance.

    Rosemary is, understandably, not impressed.

    Rosemary tells Anthony "I swear by Satan, I will blow a hole in ya"
    Bleecker Street

    A lot more words with very little meaning are exchanged. By this stage, I had the distinct sensation I was having a fever dream. I did not in fact have a fever. But this movie was three lines of dialogue away from giving me one.

    Rosemary tells Anthony "It's good that you're tall. Men are beasts. They need that height to balance the truth and the goodness of women."
    Bleecker Street


    Okay. Let's take a moment to pause. Because we're about to reach the Plot Twist. THE PLOT TWIST. Rosemary first asks Anthony if he's gay or in love with the donkey, to which he gives two horrified "nos".

    Rosemary says to Anthony "There's no truth to that business of you and the donkey, is there?"
    Bleecker Street

    (It has to be said, it's a slightly more horrified "no" regarding the gay question than the one for the donkey question).

    And then...drumroll please...we finally get there. The Twist. Rosemary gets Anthony to admit why he's been avoiding a relationship with her his whole life. We've waited an hour and 20 minutes for this moment. It must be seen to be believed:

    MAJOR SPOILER WARNING Crap video but I cannot witness this alone. We’ve been waiting for an hour and 20 minutes to find out why Jamie Dornan won’t just bang/marry Emily Blunt. She’s accused him of being gay and questioned if he was in love with a donkey. And now...

    "I believe that I am a honey bee."


    That's right folks, all that foreshadowing was leading to this. Anthony literally thinks he's a honey bee. Not a human. A honey bee.


    A. HONEY. BEE.


    Rosemary's immediate response is "lol wtf is wrong with you" and "you're killing me".

    Rosemary says "you think you're a bee! I mean, you think you're a bee!"
    Bleecker Street

    But then Anthony says she's the flower to his bee and she comes around pretty quickly.

    Anthony tells Rosemary she's a flower and she says he's good for her
    Bleecker Street

    Anthony admits that the bee thing isn't the only reason he hasn't proposed — he lost his mother's ring and he took that as a sign he shouldn't marry. He's been using the metal detector to try and find it, but hasn't had any luck.

    Which in itself is a weird reason to not marry someone you love but I'm sorry I am still hung up on the HONEY BEE thing.

    Rosemary then...tries to tell him he's normal? And everyone is weird? And he's like, oh no I'm a special kind of weird. AND HE IS RIGHT. But Rosemary tries to match his weirdness with the whole swan thing and honestly by this stage I felt like I was the one who had lost my mind.

    Rosemary tells Anthony she thinks she's a house cat and a swan
    Bleecker Street

    Rosemary spends a few more minutes convincing Anthony to marry her — because somehow, he is the one who still needs convincing in this situation. And then she reveals she has his mother's ring, and he takes that as a positive sign, and they kiss, and he carries her towards a patch of dry land because after 90 minutes he has had enough of being wet.

    Anthony carries Rosemary through the rain and says "I'm goddamned tired of living in the rain".
    Bleecker Street

    The movie ends with a finally-dry Anthony singing the Wild Mountain Thyme song at the pub with Rosemary, and the camera pans around the room to show that every dead person is there to enjoy the singalong too, including Dead Christopher Walken, the narrator.

    Rosemary and Anthony look at each other as they sing into a microphone; the caption reads "I will surely find another"
    Bleecker Street

    If you're wondering what happened to Anthony's American cousin, Adam, he picked up a woman he sat next to on the plane on the way over to Ireland. But honestly who really cares while a man thinks he's a bee and an undead karaoke session is happening.

    And so ends the actual strangest movie I have ever seen. Questions about it will haunt me for the rest of my life.

    I'm still not entirely sure I didn't imagine the whole thing.