12 November 2020 12:30
The trailer for new romcom Wild Mountain Thyme has got everyone talking - in dodgy "Oirish" accents, it would seem. Starring English actress Emily Blunt and Jamie Dornan, who is from Northern Ireland, plus US stars Christopher Walken and Jon Hamm, the film is set in rural Ireland, a romance intertwined with a family dispute over a farm. Released this week, the teaser for the film has been widely mocked on social media for its Irish clichés and the stars' accents. Even the National Leprechaun Museum of Ireland - which celebrates Irish myth and folklore - isn't happy. Even we think this is a bit much #WildMountainThyme — Leprechaun Museum (@leprechaun_ie) November 10, 2020 The Irish Times film correspondent Donald Clarke has asked: "What in the name of holy bejaysus is this cowpat?" It's the clichés he takes issue with - Blunt is a "feisty redhead", Dornan talks to a donkey, a joke about Irish people being violent, a coracle, that sort of thing - saying it is "baffling that this class of stereotyping passes without comment in the United States".
On social media, even Dornan's accent has been criticised. Admittedly, he's from Northern Ireland, but if anyone was going to pull off the Irish brogue it perhaps should have been him. Some have compared the accents to Tom Cruise's in much mocked 1992 film Far And Away. For the record, I could only manage half of the Wild Mountain Thyme trailer. The Irish Embassy in the US had this to say: "To be fair, Irish accents are hard (we struggle with them at times).
This is until Blunt's character makes a reference to freezing her eggs if she doesn't get married soon, and viewers are forced to adjust to the idea that the film is intended to depict a modern-day setting. Wild Mountain Thyme trailer Set to be released in December, the promotional material for Wild Mountain Thyme invokes echoes of a number of classic romantic films. "How many days do we have while the sun shines?" Blunt asks in the trailer. The trailer, moreover, serves to (albeit preemptively) instal Wild Mountain Thyme in a sub-genre of romantic comedy films that depict Ireland as a landscape exclusively composed of haphazard stone walls, lolloping sheep, and proto-cottagecore natives spouting dubious local folk tales. The 2007 film adaptation of Cecelia Ahern's P.S., I Love You altered the source material of the novel to create a heavily Americanised representation of Ireland, soundtracked by Galway Girl and the Pogues and often reminiscent of a Carroll's gift shop display. Another example of the use of casual paddywhackery as a backdrop for romance occurred in the 2015 season of reality show The Bachelorette, a US dating series that attempts to curate a very traditional, romcom-style (and inherently marriage-orientated) narrative. Series-lead Kaitlyn Bristowe and her group of suitors travelled to Dublin to embark on a series of increasingly clichéd "Irish-themed" dates; they kissed the Blarney Stone, chatted in pubs with sundry subtitled locals, and took a trip to the Guinness storehouse (where Bristowe proceeded to order a glass of Chardonnay). "No better place to fall in love than in Ireland!" they gushed, engaging in such classic Hibernian courtship rituals as slow-dancing in Christ Church Cathedral while being serenaded by the Cranberries. Kaitlyn is dead… for today," explaining that the date would take the form of a traditional Irish wake. There is a frustrating irony in the Wild Mountain Thyme trailer when Hamm's character is shown contemplating aloud, "I don't understand you people. It is as if the backwater politics of the film's rural Irish community are not the baffling creations born of a heavily Americanised view of Ireland. Jamie Dornan has been accused of committing "a crime against Irish accents" in his latest film. After the trailer for Wild Mountain Thyme, a romantic comedy filmed in Co Mayo, was shared on Twitter, its stars were teased for their attempted southern twangs. Co Down man Dornan, British actress Emily Blunt and veteran American star Christopher Walken all came in for some heavy criticism. The film, written and directed by John Patrick Shanley, also stars Jon Hamm and tells a love story set against the landscape of rural Ireland. However, this is not the first time a production has been ridiculed for the less-than-perfect Irish accents of its stars. While people from outside the island of Ireland could be forgiven for butchering a Belfast accent, hearing Brosnan, who is from Navan, deliver his lines so unconvincingly was a huge shock for some. Action movie star Gerard Butler played a loveable Irishman called Gerry Kennedy in the 2007 romantic tear-jerker PS I Love You, but his attempted southern accent was widely panned. Reacting to the film, the Irish Post branded the accent "more Jamaican than Connemaran". far and away the worst film I have ever seen". In Michael Collins, released in 1996 and also starring Liam Neeson, she plays Kitty Kiernan, who fell in love with the Irish revolutionary - but no one fell for the star's dodgy accent. The same year, in Mary Reilly, she played an Irish housemaid who becomes embroiled in a love affair with her employer Dr Jekyll and his alter ego Mr Hyde. Sean Connery appeared to have completely bypassed the character description for Jimmy Malone when he read the script for The Untouchables, particularly the bit that noted he was of an Irish persuasion. Instead of attempting an Irish accent, Connery used a slightly comical version of his own Scottish drawl. The actor's twang in the 1987 film was voted the worst movie accent of all time in 2003.