Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy (4 stars)

Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy

A Twitter inspired Thai love story from director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

'Love stories are hard to write,' muses the central character in Thai director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit’s second film Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy. This is itself a love story of sorts, however, like Thamrongrattanarit’s highly impressive debut 36, it's one that's concerned with the multitude of ways in which the modern consciousness is altered by technology, making it a far cry from the traditional romantic schmaltz of Hollywood.

Constructed from 410 tweets (posted by real-life Twitter user @marylony) the film follows Mary (Patcha Poonpiriya) and her friend Suri (Chonnikan Netjui) as they navigate the obstacles of a bizarre teenage existence, whilst attempting to create the perfect ‘minimalist yearbook’ for their high-school. The tweets range from the absurd to the poetic via everyday teenage angst, allowing for some hugely creative interpretations of the text. This results in Mary being involved in wonderfully offbeat situations, such as buying a frozen jellyfish and going alone to Paris on an impulse.

It’s a film which is more delicate and enveloping than it may at first seem. If you survive past the blunt, uncompromising structure of the first third, you are rewarded with a beautifully peculiar tale that evokes the sensations and frustrations of youth with lyrical aplomb. Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy drifts in and out of passages of metafiction with ease, making for a dreamlike experience that breezily presents its philosophy instead of shoving it down our throats. In doing so it successfully portrays the whimsy, drama and ambiguity of modern expression that exists through the medium of Twitter.

Thamrongrattanarit is a rare talent who has the ability to say something incisive about the contemporary human condition, and he does so in a way which is both amusing and unnerving. There's little doubt there's a lot more to come from him.

Selected release from Fri 21 Nov.


Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy

  • 4 stars
  • 2013
  • Thailand
  • 2h 7min
  • Directed by: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit
  • Cast: Chonnikan Netjui, Patcha Poonpiriya
  • UK release: 21 November 2014

A love story of sorts, constructed from 410 tweets by a real-life Twitter follower of director Thamrongrattanrit, following Mary (Poonpiriya) and her friend Suri (Netjui) as they navigate teenage existence. The narrative device leads to wonderfully offbeat situations but also evokes the sensations and frustrations of…