Joyride – Film Review
by Frank L
Director – Emer Reynolds
Writer – Ailbhe Keogan
Stars – Olivia Colman, Charlie Reid, Olwen Fouéré, David Pearse
Dublin-born director Emer Reynolds makes her first feature film after the impressive documentaries The Farthest (2017) and Phil Lynott: Songs For While I Am Away (2021). The story is an unlikely one, when young Mully (Charlie Reid) who is barely a teenager, tries to escape from his ne’er do well father. He does so by stealing a taxi that unbeknownst to Mully, has a semi-drunk woman, Joy (Olivia Colman), slumped in the back seat along with her newborn infant. Joy is a single-parent solicitor and isn’t dealing with her new circumstances particularly well. They make an unlikely trio. They set off on their road trip during which Mully and Joy reveal to each other aspects of their past but the needs of the baby require attention also. In this regard, Mully shows himself to be more skilled than you would expect from such a young boy and more competent than Joy. He has a wise head on young shoulders. An engaging touch is that the baby is called Robin who features quite prominently at times and whose presence is complemented by occasional shots of a robin.
The road trip facilitates a series of events such as running out of petrol which necessitates a long walk where Joy and Mully have a substantial conversation as they gradually reveal more of themselves to each other. There are then needless to say all sorts of scrapes and minor disasters such as being stopped by the gardai at a roadblock.
It takes place at a merry pace with Colman and Reid making a fine pairing. Reid is quite a find. He was a mere 14 years old when he was cast in the role. He is impressive from the opening scenes where he sings as the star turn at the charity fundraiser to acting as the foil to Colman on their unlikely road trip. Colman, as you would expect as an Oscar-winning actor, is utterly assured as an Irish solicitor who is in possession of an unplanned baby and whose organisational skills are severely challenged by its arrival. In this unlikely role, Colman navigates pretty effectively the challenges of having an Irish accent.
While the story is slight Reid and Colman are a joy to watch. In addition, as it was shot in Kerry there is beautiful scenery throughout. It is an enjoyable, well-made, hour and a half long, light-hearted romp. In these tricky times, it is good to sit back and relax into a little bit of unlikely fantasy.