“Mary/Mary”is a thoroughly engrossing film that examines how a little mental illness can do a gigantic amount of damage among friends and loved ones. Unlike many films that deal with the same subject, this one actually gets it right.
Manny (Jon Bernthal) has a problem. He always thinks he’s dying, and the men in suits he imagines (shades of another movie) don’t help the situation. His best friend and casual lover, Mary (Amy L. Drown), doesn’t let his obsession stand in the way of their friendship, however. And neither does his friend Brian (Sean Carrigan). At least not at first.
Manny, despite his best intentions, starts to drag his friends down into his paranoid world. He gets a new girlfriend, also named Mary (Melissa Pamperin), and proceeds to do the same to her. Through his “realist”way of looking at what goes on around him, Manny drives Brian to distrust his own girlfriend, Kara (Susan McMahon), to the point where their relationship borders on domestic violence. Manny needs help, and everybody knows that but him.
If there’s anything to take from this movie, it’s the fact that not every story, especially ones trying to be true to life, have neat, compact endings. In fact, as in life, little gets solved. Of course, none of this would have the same impact without a solid story and believable actors. “Mary/Mary” has those things in spades.
This is a film that people should actually care about, and I’d be surprised if it didn’t win a few awards along the way. These actors also turn in performances that show they are forces to be reckoned with and can go toe-to-toe with the best of what Hollywood has to offer. The only weak link in the cast is Pamperin, though that may be more of a flaw of her character than it is of her acting, as her later scenes demonstrate.
Overall, this is a winner. It’s usually fairly difficult for people to enjoy such movies, but this is a first, and folks should definitely seek it out if only to look at the future of film.