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Very Annie Mary (1999, Rachel Griffiths, Jonathan Pryce)

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In the Welsh valleys, Annie-Mary (Rachel Griffiths) recounts her life, starting from when she sacrificed her singing scholarship in order to nurse her mother. Fifteen years after her mother’s death she is still subject to her domineering dad (Jonathan Pryce), running his bakery business while despairing at his roving eye.

Giving singing lesson to local sweet shop owners Hob and Nob (Ioan Gruffudd and Matthew Rhys), she confides her deepest secrets to Bethan (Joanna Page), whose illness has become a motivation for the local village, who want to send her to Disneyland. Annie-Mary decides to help, and joins a band to take part in a talent contest. They win, and she takes charge of the prize money. But when she spots the local bookmaker and decides to double her money, Annie-Mary’s lucky streak is about to come to an end, as are her years of crushing drudgery…

The combination of Griffiths and this Celtic Cinderella story will lead to an inevitable comparison with Muriel’s Wedding and while Sara Suderman’s film may not scale those heights, it’s a delightfully daft love letter to Cymru which makes a virtue of its modest ambitions. The simplicity of the plot belies the complexity of its performers, with Griffiths at the helm, offering depth and instability that could so easily have been misjudged or (when gambling a sick child’s holiday money) made into pantomime.

production details
UK | 104 minutes | 2001

Writer and Director: Sara Suderman

cast
Rachel Griffiths as Annie Mary Pugh
Jonathan Pryce as Jack Pugh
Ioan Gruffudd as Hob
Matthew Rhys as Nob
Kenneth Griffith as Minister
Ruth Madoc as Mrs Ifans
Radcliffe Grafton as The Mayor

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