Mark, Mary & Some Other People, directed and written by Hannah Marks, screened at Tribeca and isn’t the typical love story that shows the highs and lows of a relationship. Like its title suggests, Mark (Ben Rosenfeld) and Mary (Haley Law) are newlyweds who explore an open relationship. So, there is more comedy to be found just in the process of their process. Written and directed by Hannah Marks, Mark, Mary & Some Other People has excellent comedic timing, heartfelt affection, and quirky characters that bring it to life. The qualities of the characters create a viewing experience that moves the film past the average romantic comedy.
Love and Fun
Few films explore polyamorous relationships, and even fewer that navigate it through a comedic vehicle. Yet, Mark, Mary & Some Other People ground the story thanks to a cast that gives the film genuine humor found in those first romantic flourishes of love. Their initial meet-cute is memorable, as are their “rules” for exploring polyamory. The film feels true to life rather than an elevation of it.
Mary works as a sexy maid, plays in a band, and does voice work for ads such as vaginal creams while Mark walks dogs. Mary wholeheartedly bucks conventionality and is the person who initially poses the idea of polyamory. She is a force of nature that brings out the outgoing, adventurous part of Mark. Essentially, they complement each other. Thanks to their uniqueness, the romantic scenes between them and later other partners aren’t the polished perfection we typically see onscreen. It’s hurried, clumsy, and sexy in its realness.
Music, Comedy & Direction Work In Tandem
The song list in the film is perfect. They found a song list that fists the eccentricities and spirit of the film. The “Baby Baby” by Amy Grant’s intro for the movie lets audiences know they are in for an overall fun time. There’s a hippie-esque quality to Mary, and Mark is cemented with the 60s vibe “Next To You” by Sam Evian. It’s present in their free-spirited nature—Mary especially—their colorful laidback styles, and the music soundtrack is a welcome companion throughout their journey. Like the flower power generation, neither Mary nor Mark is into the corporate grind.
Furthermore, the direction adds to the laidback style of the characters and music—everything working perfectly together to enhance the story at its center. The reason being, Hannah Marks does a fantastic job at showing characters that aren’t standard, Hollywood starlet love. Clearly, Hannah Marks understands that individuality is essential to a story and shows Mark and Mary’s unique characteristics.
Most of the humor lands with occasional misses. Such as when Mary’s friend, Lana (Odessa A’zion), argues with her neighbor Chris (Joe Lo Truglio). He complains about the music being too loud; Lana says she doesn’t like his dogs and cites them being “dumb, blind and deaf” as the reason. Yes, they are dogs. But the implication feels like disability is why she doesn’t like them rather than them being annoying. The rest of the additional characters are entertaining, but the leads are the heart of the film.
A Love That Is Beautiful, Complicated & Messy
Hayley Law and Ben Rosenfeld’s performances are what makes Mark, Mary & Some Other People compelling. Their banter and romance are adorable. Their facial expressions convey humor, exasperation, defensiveness, and, above all, humor. Even their initial arguments regarding an open relationship are primarily funny. As the relationship starts to encounter problems, audiences will root for them to go the distance. Their love is believable because the characters feel real. Their relationship travails are relatable. Additionally, there are heartfelt, sad moments that further enrich the movie. Mark, Mary & Some Other People are sweet, quirky, and memorable, thanks to the beloved couple at the center.
Feature Photo Credit: Casey Stolberg