Mary Goes Round is an acceptable gateway to long-form filmmaking for Canadian writer/director Molly McGlynn. She comes prepared with a resume of shorts, of which I’ve only seen one (3-Way (Not Calling)). It was so illustrious with its humour and honesty, that I started to anticipate McGlynn’s first feature-length film.
Mary Goes Round acts as a failsafe for the filmmaker. The film follows a common formula, which isn’t unusual for a debut, and the narrative deals with familiar themes of redemption and being true to yourself. It fuses the family drama of Garden State with the characterization in Rachel Getting Married, yet it’s humbling enough to give viewers a snug sense of comfort. Perhaps that has something to do with how sympathetic McGlynn is towards her discouraged characters, or how often we see our lead character bundled up.
That lead character is – of course – Mary (Aya Cash), a woman who faces brutal irony everyday as she attempts to assist people in personal agony while she struggles with her own alcoholism. A line-drawing relapse and a suggestive call from her outcast father reels her back to her Niagara Falls homestead. The setting itself, transitioning through chilly seasons, cleverly reflects Mary’s forlorn rut. However, her life falls into more disarray when she meets an unknown sister Robyn (Sara Waisglass) who is on the cusp of her own woes, and her father (John Ralston) expands on his fatal reasonings for reaching out.
Mary Goes Round may sound like a downer, but it sneaks up and turns around – no pun intended. It’s actually an affirming hidden gem about the importance of self-love.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie