Screened as part of NZIFF 2017

A Date for Mad Mary 2016

Directed by Darren Thornton World

Sent only a single invitation, dry, sarcastic, maddening Mary (marvellous Seána Kerslake) sets out to find a date for her best friend’s wedding in this barbed and funny Irish romcom.

Ireland In English
82 minutes DCP



Juliette Bonass
Ed Guiney


Darren Thornton
Colin Thornton. Based on the play 10 Dates with Mad Mary by Yasmine Akram


Ole Bratt Birkeland


Tony Cranstoun
Juangus Dinsmore

Production designer

Kieran McNulty

Costume designer

Allison Byrne


Hugh Drumm
Stephen Rennicks


Seána Kerslake (Mary)
Tara Lee (Jess)
Charleigh Bailey (Charlene)
Denise McCormack (Suzanne)
Siobhán Shanahan (Leona)


Karlovy Vary
London 2016; San Francisco 2017


Best Irish Feature Film
Galway Film Fleadh 2016


Seána Kerslake is completely winning as the larrikin Mary out to prove she’s not a loser in this funny, soulful Irish romcom. While Mary’s been doing time for a spontaneous gesture she’d rather forget, her best girlfriend Charlene has disappeared, heart and soul, into wedding planning land. Mary gets out of jail in time for the big day, bridesmaid’s speech at the ready. But, oops, Charlene is wavering on having her wild and crazy old mate at the top table and has cut her back to a single invite.

All Mary’s hurt and indignation are channelled into a single mission: showing up with a plus-one. As she assesses partner options, Kerslake makes Mary’s mix of bluntness, sarcasm and minimal self-awareness both hilarious and touching. Will it dawn on Mary, as it dawns on us, that hiding in plain sight there’s a member of the wedding offering much more than a chance to get back at the bride?

If the origins in a stage play by Yasmine Akram show in the adaptation by writer/director brothers Darren and Colin Thornton, it’s simply because the dialogue, quick and salty, is such a driving force. The Drogheda settings hum with life and devilry.

“While steeped in fondness for its setting, the film also castigates a stifling atmosphere of conformity: At one point, Charlene digs deep for the most wounding thing she can say to Mary, and can only come up with, ‘You’re making a show of yourself.’ As funny, flawed and foulmouthed as its irresistible central character, A Date for Mad Mary makes an absolute show of itself, and it is wonderful.” —Jessica Kiang, Variety

Screening With This Feature