Olivia Colman and Charlie Reid are irresistible in Joyride, the dark comedy that is bound to tug on everybody’s heartstrings.
Emer Reynolds’ Joyride tells the story of an unlikely bond that forms between a mother struggling with postpartum depression (PPD), and a troubled young boy as he flees from his abusive father. Whilst on their individual journeys, the two cross each other’s paths and provide the comfort for one another that they didn’t know they needed. Starring Olivia Colman as Joy, the complicated yet caring middle-aged woman, and Charlie Reid as Mully, a reckless and courageous adolescent on the run from his father (Lochlann O’Mearáin), Joyride is a complex story that carries the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions.
Though the film can be considered unrealistic at times, such as the twelve-year-old Mully stealing a taxi and driving through the streets of rural Ireland, it has a delicate plot at its core. Joyride remains rather lighthearted and comedic for most of its 94-minute run, but the narrative touches on some super important and dark storylines. From the start, we can see that Joy is struggling to connect with her new-born baby girl, Robin (Sean Crowe), and has decided to embark on an emotional journey to give her baby away to a friend, until she meets Mully and her plan is derailed. As we watch Joy and Mully connect, Mully guides Joy through some of her most vulnerable moments, and they share the joy, laughter, and tears that come with the experience of caring for a baby. The film sheds an extremely important light on PPD, and it is one of the few movies I have seen that centralises on the condition, opening up relevant and needed discourses on a representation that is rarely seen within Film and TV.
Whilst Mully shows his extreme maturity in helping Joy connect with Robin, we learn that he struggles within his own family life, explaining why he was on the run in a stolen taxi when he first ran into Joy. We learn of Mully’s mother’s passing, and his turbulent relationship with his father, whom he stole cash from at the beginning of the film. In an emotional reunion towards the end of the film, we see first-hand the lack of care and affection towards Mully from his father, as he fails to care for Mully when he finds himself in a dangerous situation, instead he is assisted by Joy.
Charlie Reid as Mully is one of the best young performances I have seen in a film this year: his acting technique within the movie is so natural and captivating that at times I would forget that he was actually playing a character. He’s loveable and kind, showing his compassion for others despite being stereotyped as a troublesome young boy that is up to no good. He was the star of the show and he’s only at the beginning of his career, at just 15 years old. Reid is a fantastic performer who is full of energy, and embodies his character of Mully perfectly.
Similarly, Olivia Colman again delivers a heartbreakingly brilliant performance. Unlike any role I have seen her in before, she seems to connect with her character on such a deep level that she reduced me to tears throughout multiple scenes within the film. Joy is such a complex character, with many emotions and feelings, and Olivia Colman portrays her with such delicacy and warmth that she is irresistible. The chemistry between Olivia and Charlie is addictive, as Joy provides Mully with the Mother-figure he has been lacking, Mully teaches Joy how to understand her emotions, and in turn, they both save one another from sinking.
Overall, Joyride is an enjoyable watch that brings forth some important topics and certainly shows the audience some incredible cast performances. However, I feel as though there is something missing slightly, leaving me unfulfilled as a spectator once the movie ends. This could be put down to the short run time of the movie, but unfortunately, I can’t help but feel that the resolution was rather rushed, missing out on an ending that could have delivered a much more heartfelt message and connected the audience to the story a little more.
Joyride is now available to watch on digital and on demand.