Mary Goes Round (2017) is a Canadian comedy-drama, written and directed by Molly McGlynn, her first feature film.
It’s the story of a young woman whose life spirals out of control because of her erratic behavior and drinking, and must face the consequences and confront her personal demons if she is to move on in life. The narrative of Mary’s drinking is juxtaposed against her erratic behavior, the fallout from her out of control drinking, resolving her conflict with her father, and establishing a relationship with her half-sister which creates dramatic tension and moves the narrative.
The talented Aya Cash plays Mary. John Ralston plays her father, Walt. Sara Waisglass plays Robyn, her half-sister, and Melanie Nicholls-King plays Lou, a friend. What makes the film besides the stellar performances of the main and supporting cast is the comedic moments that pepper the storyline and has you in stitches. Cash brings a poignant, funny and nuanced rendering of a sympathetic and relatable character: a frustrated, conflicted young woman dealing with daddy issues. She’s a very likeable character that will keep you rooting for her along her dark journey. I would like to single out Melanie Nicholls-King’s performance of Lou who gives a powerful performance of a recovering addict who works as a PSW and lives out of a motel room. She brings a gravitas and dignity to her role and the luminosity of her humanity and decency lights the screen, which held me spellbound. I think her character is deserving of her very own feature film, and perhaps, there’s a spin off in the works.
One of the funniest scenes in the film is when Mary arrives at her former home and greets her half-sister Robyn who has just come outside. Robyn mistakes Mary for a looney bin and tells her to move on. Another is when Mary introduces Lou to her dad and tells him that she’s a friend from school who was in the slow learner’s class. One of the most powerful and moving scenes in the film is when Mary’s dad and half-sister show up at her AA meeting and sit with her. Another is when Mary gets off the bus in Niagara Falls, standing briefly in front of a hotel taking it all in, and then, makes her way to her former home, pulling her piece of luggage behind her, walking along a street that has seen better days, like Mary herself. Another is when the two sisters are talking to each other through the women’s washroom cubicles. You visually sense the divide and separation between them. The cubicle barrier that separates them physically also separates them personally.
What I liked too in the film was situating the narrative within the context of a faded city that has seen better days and whose breathtaking views have been immortalized in films like the Hollywood filmNiagara.
The film resonated with me on many levels suggesting that redemption is within our grasp, the meaning and importance of family, and we are all deserving of second chances. I highly recommend Mary Goes Around. It’s a well-made film with superb dialogue and great performances that will tug on your heartstrings.
Wildling Pictures releases Mary Goes Round in Canada on Friday, March 30, 2018