A joy to behold

Joyride (15, 93 minutes)

Some films are not made with any great aspirations of commercial success, but with the wind blowing in the right direction and the right people on board, something of genuine warmth and quality can gain the recognition it deserves.

Joyride is the latest of these otherwise anonymous little gems (a feature directorial debut for Emer Reynolds) which, if there’s any justice, will be showered with accolades for a screenplay that exploits what I like to call the comedy of life (which can be very funny indeed) while retaining moments of gritty drama and for two performances of incredible depth, one from a newcomer who is barely a teenager, the other from an actress whose name alone is enough for most of us to say, fair enough.

I’m talking about the one that’s not Dame Judy Dench or Jodie Comer.

Mully, a young Irish lad (Charlie Reid) discovers his father is about to steal the charity money raised in memory of his recently deceased mum so he makes off with the wad of cash, stealing a taxi to make his getaway, unaware that in the back seat is local solicitor and personal trainwreck Joy (the magnificent Olivia Coleman with an accent that sounds more like Imelda Mae than Imelda herself) and her newly born daughter, who she is about to give away to her sister.

What follows is a road movie that acts as a voyage of discovery for both of them as they learn important life lessons from each other.

Some of those lessons are very hard to take, but their lives become irreversibly changed for the better for being thrown together.

Between the fiery exchanges, there’s an intimacy, a co-dependency and fiercely protective instinct that develops between them, demonstrated most profoundly by the boy teaching the vulnerable older woman how to breastfeed her baby without the slightest hint of embarrassment or self consciousness on his part.

Charlie Reid manages to hold his own with one of our finest actresses, which is testament to the bright future he has, should he want it of course, and also Coleman’s generosity. In the interactions between the two of them, which takes up most of the film, they are acting together as one unit, never as two individuals. She allows him to shine while putting in a performance herself that I believe is worthy of another Oscar nomination at least.

But some films are not made to entice awards judges.

They’re far too good for that.

I just hope enough people get to see Joyride, because my day was made all the better for it.

RATING: 9/10

Mick Ferris

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