A bit of Irish spice lands in Auckland for the New Zealand International Film Festival with the quirky, but relevant, drama A Date for Mad Mary directed by Darren Thornton, adapted (with his brother Colin) from the Yasmine Akram play 10 Dates with Mad Mary – which he also directed. Seána Kerslake plays the title role, Mary, fresh from a stint in prison she returns to Drogheda – but finds adapting to her old friends rather tough-going.
Mary is a seemingly fearless young woman, unfiltered and foul-mouthed, perhaps disguising a longing for the more simple life. Kerslake is terrific in the lead role, full of spark and brutal wit. The screenplay, too, is genuinely funny, troubling, and somewhat touching, projecting a character so off the leash at times it is credit to the story-telling than we still want the best for her in the end.