The basic premise of Wild Mountain Thyme, the new rom-com from writer-director John Patrick Shanley, seems simple enough: Anthony (Jamie Dornan) and Rosemary (Emily Blunt) have grown up on adjoining farms but have yet to consummate or even acknowledge their affection for each other. They’re brought to a crossroads, however, when Anthony’s father (Christopher Walken) threatens to pass the family farm down to Anthony’s American cousin Adam (Jon Hamm) because Adam seems more likely to settle down and start a family. The thing is, the movie has a truly insane twist. How could such an innocuous-sounding movie surprise anyone? Read on to find out. (And, needless to say, spoilers follow.)
OK, so, what’s the twist?
Jamie Dornan thinks he’s a bee.
I wasn’t ready.
I told you to get ready!
Pretty much! When Emily Blunt finally corners him and asks him why they haven’t been kissing this whole time, he says, in tears, “I think I’m a honeybee.”
And nobody knew? Does he not act like a bee?
The most bee-ish behavior he exhibits is at the beginning of the film, when he takes a particularly big sniff of a flower. A girl makes fun of him, as he gets pollen on his nose, and Dornan later explains to Blunt that the same girl ran away from him after he confessed his love to her and told her of his bee nature, hence his reluctance to tell Blunt. Throughout the movie, he tells people that he’s “mad,” “off-kilter,” and “delusional,” and at one point he informs a flirty woman that he has a “tininess in his brain.” Rosemary also catches him apparently arguing with thin air, which I assume means he thinks he can communicate with bugs, too, but this is never cleared up, and he otherwise never really acts in an especially abnormal way.
Are there any other hints as to the twist?
At the very beginning of the movie, when we see him as a child, he says, “Mother Nature, why did you make me so?” He also takes particular care in letting a bee out after it gets into his house, and you can hear the faint buzzing of a bee in every scene in which he’s faced with a significant choice or obstacle. Oh, also, it’s suggested that one of his relatives may have had a similar condition—a member of the family apparently thought of himself as a fish, and he ended up drowning himself.
Does Christopher Walken know that his human son thinks he is a bee?
He doesn’t seem to! He just thinks he’s awkward.
And Rosemary is OK with all of this?
She processes it over the length of the car ride from one farm to the other before deciding that it’s not enough to keep them apart. She even says, “Do I have to swat at you to get you to sting me?” And then she tells him that everyone thinks they’re something they’re not (to which he rightly answers that they don’t, not to the extent that he does) and that she thinks she’s a swan.
As a child, her character bemoans the fact that Jamie Dornan isn’t paying attention to her, and in an attempt to comfort her, her father puts on a record of Swan Lake and tells her that she’s the white swan.
Doesn’t the white swan die after her love betrays her?
You know Swan Lake very well!
Yes, the white swan dies. Rosemary’s father doesn’t seem to pay this any mind, however. He tells her that being the white swan means “the world is yours, you can do anything.” And she takes this to heart. She listens to Swan Lake at a few points during the film, even humming it as she does a few things around the house.
Does she act in a particularly swan-y way?
She does a few moves from the ballet in one scene but that’s the extent of it.
So she doesn’t think of herself as a swan as literally as Dornan does?
She very adamantly tells Jon Hamm that she’s a swan after they go to see the ballet, so she actually might.
And these people still live normal lives?
This is the part that really gets me: Everyone seems to think that Dornan is awkward and kind of a weirdo, but nobody says that about Blunt, and their respective bee- and swan-sonas don’t seem to have impacted their lives in any tangible way despite how fervently they believe in their animal natures. I feel like if the point is that they’ve been going to pains to hide their true natures out of fear of how other people would react, that should maybe have been a larger part of the story rather than saved as a last-minute twist. And if it hasn’t had such an effect on their lives, then why are they so wracked by it? Does John Patrick Shanley know what fursonas are? Does he know what kinning is? Is Dornan’s character supposed to be bee-kin? Because Blunt’s is definitely Odette-kin, right? Hopefully he’ll tweet about it someday.