Home » Blogs » Joyride

You may think that you’ve got Joyride sussed. It looks, at the outset, like your typical Irish comedy-drama: a schmaltzy feelgood romp in the Richard Curtis tradition. A cheesy pub singalong opens proceedings; its screwball comedy premise – an envelope of stolen charity money; a boy trying to escape his father; a mismatched road trip with a woman, a boy and a baby – is breathlessly established within the first ten minutes. (In such haste, it perhaps loses sight of plausible character motivation, would a middle-aged woman, even a desperate one, really not think twice about having a small boy drive her to the airport?)

But Joyride might still catch you off guard. Though it does indeed go for broad strokes, lightweight gags and obvious morals, what comes after that wacky set-up is a thoughtful (if somewhat melodramatic) exploration of motherhood and family. A meditation on what it means to be both a parent and to be a child — buoyed, crucially, by some charming performances.

Foremost among them is Olivia Colman’s turn as yet another “practical and solution-orientated” solicitor looking to jettison her unwanted child. (After last year’s The Lost Daughter, Colman’s Reluctant Mother Era continues unabated.) Joy — “I know, false advertising,” she self-deprecatingly acknowledges of her name — had an unplanned pregnancy and now can’t wait to palm the newborn off onto any relative who’ll have it so she can get on with her life unencumbered by maternal instincts. But this being what it is – a road trip movie – naturally things do not go according to plan.

Joy finds her match in Mully (Charlie Reid), an old-beyond-his-years pre-teen scamp who tugs at the heartstrings while holding his own against national treasure Colman. A “half-orphan”, he’s had to do some growing up fast, a childhood seemingly denied him. In the classic tradition, Joy and Mully take an instant dislike to each other — but as their rickety journey takes them deep into the heart of south-west Ireland, they begin to thaw on one another. In one quietly moving scene, Mully – who has helped raise his niece – gently schools Joy in the art of breastfeeding.

There is a fair bit here that feels familiar. It indulges intermittently in some of the tropes of commercial Irish cinema — copious helicopter shots of lush rural settings; a community based around a pub; a Tommy Tiernan cameo. It also cribs liberally from the ghosts of road movies past; expect car breakdowns and police chases aplenty. But even if the material isn’t always sparklingly fresh, its approach and execution are quietly effective. This is at heart a simple tale about people’s capacity for love, and how generational trauma can dampen that love, but never quite smother it. If it ends on an unabashed note of feel-goodery, it does so with such charm that it’s hard to begrudge; there’s a warmth to this kind of filmmaking that’s difficult to resist.

Also, Read On Fmovies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *