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
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
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