1 Aug 2022
Olivia Colman, Charlie Reid
A woman, baby and thirteen-year-old boy in a stolen car could take the viewer down many rabbit holes. But this entertaining chase movie by Emer Reynolds adds an appealing twist as two disparate characters work their way around an increasingly tight rock and a hard place.
Mully (Charlie Reid) is coping with the death of his beloved mother Rita. Ever enterprising he organises a charity event at the Greyhound pub in her memory. He intends to donate the money raised to a cancer charity. However, his scheming father (Lochlann O'Mearáin) has other ideas and nabs the cash to pay off a debt. Mully swiftly grabs it back and makes a run for it. He jumps into a car and speeds off into the night. Unbeknown to him there are two passengers in the back seat; a new born baby and solicitor Joy (Olivia Colman) who is deep in the throes of post-natal depression. On the journey full and frank confessions are exchanged. Joy cannot cope with a child and aims to give her up for adoption. Mully is thirteen going on forty and teaches Joy how to bond with her baby. His father is hot on the trail as they scythe through the Irish countryside. But where will it all end for this most endearing of odd couples?
Ireland has a fine literary heritage and is easy to assume any film originating in the Emerald Isle will be good. But Joyride holds the line with nonchalant ease. The customary wit and charm rides on the narrative as it moves at a brisk pace. The relationship between Joy and Charlie is observed with heartbreaking clarity as they find common ground in the wreckage of their own lives. Charlie Reid is superb as the streetwise but vulnerable Mully and fights Olivia Colman for the acting plaudits. Colman’s accent passes muster but a more discerning judge might think otherwise. She never sits back in the role and has a great rapport with Reid. The dialogue crackles with energy and swings from intense drama to knock about humour.
Whilst it’s easy to pick holes, not least the fact no one in Ireland bothers to lock their car, Joyride is an apt description for a film that pleases on every conceivable level. The conclusion pulls gently at the heartstrings and leaves the door open for a sequel; a sleeper that deserves attention for its sheer likability.