Patrick is a warm, open, twenty-six year old virgin schizophrenic. Pills and his mother's protection means Patrick is no threat to himself or others. Until he falls in love. Maura is Patrick's obsessive mother and her need to control her son blinds her to the reality that sometimes the only thing more damaging than hate is misguided love. Soon to be redundant, alcoholic air-hostess, Karen, books into an hotel to end her life unaware that the intimacy she shares with Patrick will reintroduce her to living. Dysfunctional loner cop, Freeman, wants to be a stand-up comic, but, when Maura loses her son, Freeman will use his position to help her find him, for a price. A provocative love story about the right to intimacy for everyone Patrick's Day suggests, when it comes to love, we're all a little crazy.Written by
Director Terry McMahon courted controversy in 2011 with his debut, a satirical thriller called Charlie Casanova. A film he described as his 'punk rock statement', it was a feature made for the impressive sum of E1000 with the aid of a cast and crew assembled mostly through Facebook. Casanova was more than a bit rough around the edges, but McMahon kept that provocative streak for his second effort - and caused a stir for all the right reasons.
Patrick's Day tells the story of Patrick (Moe Dunford) a young man in his late twenties who suffers from schizophrenia. We open at Dublin's St. Patrick's Day parade with Patrick on day release from the institution he calls home, having a day out with Mother Maura (Kerry Fox) to celebrate his birthday. Together they enjoy a fun fair, buy novelty hats , eat candy floss and do everything you would do with a ten year old on his birthday. But when Patrick and Maura get separated in the crowd, Patrick meets Karen (Catherine Walker) who is a bit tipsy and takes a liking to him. 'I have schizophrenia,' he feels compelled to blurt out to her, 'Sure haven't we all?' is her response. Patrick falls for Karen, to Maura's horror. She drives her son back to the institution, and even enlists a detective (Philip Jackson) to help her convince him that Karen is merely one of his delusions. Patrick is rocked, forced to confront the draconian way he is treated because of his illness, and is compelled to escape and find her. Or at least find out if she's fictitious.
Patrick's Day is a remarkable piece addressing the lingering stigma surrounding mental illness, and a mentally ill person's right to intimacy. It is a fiercely humane drama, one of those rare ones that shatters you then sets you soaring, all the more moving for extending it's understanding toward well-meaning antagonist Maura. And that's not an easy task, in a film reminiscent of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. The writing is snappy ('Only a woman could demolish you with a compliment,' grumbles Jackson's beleaguered detective) and it's well shot too, McMahon and DoP Michael Lavelle filling it with expressive images.
A vital and thought-provoking piece, it gave me a new perspective and made me re-think my attitude towards the topic and people in my life, and there's no higher praise than that. Not that there's no lightness to the film - 'Patrick is a twenty-six year old schizophrenic virgin...' was the entirety of the blurb for it at my local cinema, and that captures this film's mischievous spirit.
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