Dare to Be Wild
Dare to Be Wild tells the inspiring true story of Mary Reynolds, who became the youngest recipient of the Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal in 2002 for her garden, designed to bring back the beauty of wild nature to the sterile and unnatural design of urban and private gardens. For horticulturalists and general garden and flower lovers, the story may be familiar already, and the filmmakers can probably be forgiven for a film that is roll-your-eyes predictable in fashioning a chick-flick style romance out of the fascinating material.
Emma Greenwell (most known for Love and Friendship or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) stars as the idealistic artist Mary; at the beginning, she is hired to illustrate for a glamorous and self-absorbed garden designer, who suddenly runs off with Mary’s designs and passes them off as her own. Now left without a job and no money, Mary decides to make a name for herself by competing with the snobbish bigwigs in the Chelsea Flower Show. She enlists the help of a hippie botanist collective, the Green Angels, where she meets soulful, violin-playing, wildflower expert Christy Collard (Tom Hughes) who is initially against Mary’s idea, preferring to dedicate his efforts to building irrigation in the Ethiopian desert. Mary thus decides to travel to Ethiopia to try and convince him of the validity of her plan.
Both leads are engaging and look ready for a Vogue photoshoot, dressed in Consolata Boyle’s romantically fashionable costumes and before the cinematography from Cathal Watters of backdrops of colourful orchids and vast African desert plains.
First-time director and screenwriter Vivienne Decourcy has created a classic underdog tale from the events, which ticks all the boxes for those looking for a rose-tinted, romantic comedy drama to watch snuggled close to your date this autumn. The end result, however, is a little too sweet and shallow for the film’s environmentally conscious and important message to take root.
Dare to Be Wild is released in selected cinemas on 23rd September 2016.
Watch the trailer for Dare to Be Wild here: