Inspirational movies based on real people often have the greatest impact. Dare to Be Wild is the based-on-a-true-story of Mary Reynolds (Emma Greenwell), a young Irishwoman who grows up respecting and nurturing nature. Mary is without formal training, but her unique eye leads her to London and the door of a famed landscaper. For a time, Mary creates the gardens while her boss takes the credit. That is until one day when she’s unceremoniously fired.
The determined outsider then decides to take a chance and enter the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. With little time and even fewer resources, Mary sets out on an unexpected journey to create a beautiful and unique garden.
Dare to Be Wild (2015) Review
True to its title, this film presents a definition of “wild” I don’t think I’ve seen captured on film before. Overall, I love the rustic charm of this film. The landscapes and wide aerial angles, the colors and organic nature it depicts are stunning. It’s the kind of cinema the setting takes on its own unique characteristic, and I love that in Dare to Be Wild. The film also works as the perfect promotional advertisement for Ireland. If you didn’t want to go before, you’ll want to after watching the movie.
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The characters are also interesting. Mary is a studious young woman with pluck who isn’t about to give up on her dreams. The real Mary Reynolds (who’s the youngest Chelsea Flower Show winner) believes and encourages “the clients to form their own relationship with the little piece of earth they are lucky enough to call their own, their gardens.” This freedom (of personality) is something Emma Greenwell brings to the interpretation of Mary Reynolds strikingly well. From the moment we first see and hear from Mary, I could tell here was a free-spirited woman who stands in awe of nature and its beauty.
Though its newcomer Greenwell (she did appear in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) with the most screen time, Tom Hughes also plays an important role. Hughes is, of course, the name behind one of our favorite TV crushes, Prince Albert from ITV’s Victoria. This film is quite romantic, but the real-life story is less so. Nonetheless, I do enjoy the romance and the sweet relationship that blooms between their characters.
As the tagline of the film promises, this film is an ode to the dreamers among us. It’s also an ode to nature. Dare to Be Wild is a lesson in organic storytelling and in how not to let a setback crush the spirit of a character. Mary determines she’s going to press forward with her dreams no matter what, and it’s a lovely journey to walk with her.
Note: In many ways, this film reminds me of This Beautiful Fantastic, which is also another unique cinematic vision.
Where to Watch: You can stream Dare to Be Wild (at time of publication) on Netflix or find it on Amazon Video.
Content: The film is PG, and contains some mild innuendo/kissing that leads to a scene of a couple lying in a tangle of sheets.
Have you seen this film? If so, what did you think of it, and are you familiar with Mary Reynolds’ work. Comment down below with all of your thoughts.
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My
feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me
to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
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