Very Annie Mary
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Annie Mary (Rachel Griffiths) once had the promise of a wonderful life and a successful career as an opera singer. At fifteen, she won a contest judged by Pavarotti and was given a scholarship to study in Milan. But then her mother became ill and died, and Annie Mary was stuck in her tiny Welsh town, forced to fill her mother’s shoes.

Now Annie Mary’s 33. She’s clumsy and awkward, and she’s constantly taking verbal abuse from her father (Jonathan Pryce). He refuses to let her sing, he makes her wait on him, and he dresses her in his dead mother’s clothes. For her birthday, he gives her a cabbage.

Annie Mary lives in the shadow of her famous father, known as “The Voice of the Valley,” who runs the town’s bakery and serenades the town through a loudspeaker on his delivery truck while making his daily deliveries. But Annie Mary dreams of singing again—and of getting out, buying her own house, and being her own person.

When Annie Mary’s father has a stroke, Annie Mary begins dreaming of life without him. She even starts looking into selling the house and the family business. Instead, however, her father returns home even more dependent on her. Annie Mary’s responsibilities increase, and she’s forced to give up her life savings to pay the bills. It’s not until she finally rebels and decides to do her own thing that she discovers that she still has a chance at that wonderful life after all…

Very Annie Mary is full of quirky British humor that’s subtle at times and just plain outrageous at others. So if you just don’t get British humor, you definitely won’t get Very Annie Mary. If you happen to appreciate a bit of Brit-wit, however, you’re in for a bizarre yet satisfying treat. The film is full of eccentric characters in both major and minor roles. Pryce is wonderfully pompous as the singing baker (who dresses up as Pavarotti to deliver the bread), and Griffiths gives a spectacular performance as the clumsy and socially awkward Annie Mary, who seems to be forever stuck at age fifteen.

One word of warning, though—this movie takes place in Wales, and many of the actors are Welsh, which will most likely cause a few language problems for the average American viewer. I’ll admit that I often missed parts of the dialogue, making me wish that the DVD had some sort of caption feature that would allow me to read the lines that I couldn’t understand. Fortunately, though, you don’t have to understand every word to know what’s going on—and you’ll enjoy it anyway.

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