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The Wild Mountain Thyme ending has left critics baffled, bewildered, and buzzing

Wild Mountain Thyme
(Image credit: Bleecker Street/Lionsgate)

Wild Mountain Thyme is out in the... wild... and all anyone can talk about is the movie's twist ending. Sure, from the trailer this looked like a sickly sweet rom-com with a handful of dodgy accents, but in truth, Wild Mountain Thyme is arguably the most bewildering film of 2020. And that's saying something.

A quick summary of the plot: Emily Blunt's Rosemary has been in love with Jamie Dornan's Anthony since they were children. Anthony's father, played by Christopher Walken, won't give his son the family farm until Anthony is married. So, why can't Anthony and Rosemary get married and live on the farm happily ever after? Well, there's a problem with Anthony. 

"He's not normal," says Walken's character. "[He] takes after John Kelly and that man was mad as the full moon. He drowned himself."

Are we simply dealing with a man who's a little dumb? Or something deeper than that? A pathological feeling of worthlessness stemming from the heavy demands of his own father requiring him to get married just to be worthy of his inheritance? The answer is a big spoiler – and the thing that has left everyone baffled. So, for those who have not seen the Wild Mountain Thyme ending: spoiler warning!

The thing that's wrong with Anthony is that he believes himself to be a bee. A honeybee. A pollen sniffing honeybee who buzzes around Ireland's fair fields.

That twist has left everyone bewildered. There are a few hints throughout Wild Mountain Thyme that Anthony is a bee, but not many. First, there's a scene featuring a younger version of the character running through some flowers and taking a deep sniff of a flower. A girl laughs at Anthony and that young lass eventually turned down Anthony's propositions after he confessed his true nature as a bee. We also see the young Anthony looking up at the stars and asking: "Why did you make me so?"

Also, that John Kelly who was also mad? That's one of Anthony's family members. Why did he drown himself? Because he apparently thought himself to be a fish.

This revelation comes out as Rosemary and Anthony take a long car ride. Perhaps, most surprising of all, Rosemary takes it all very well, even joking: "Do I have to swat at you to get you to sting me?" Now, what's even stranger is that Rosemary herself has some animal issues, believing herself to be a swan because her father made her dance to Swan Lake. It's all very, very strange, and critics – as you would expect – reacted accordingly.

Slate did a deep-dive into the twist, calling the results “bananas”, while LA Times said the movie does “strange, showy things that defy logic" and asked: “Does Anthony honestly believe he’s a honeybee? (OK, he does.) It’s that kind of movie.”

Chicago Tribune’ pondered Anthony's reveal: “Is he speaking metaphorically? Horticulturally? Why can’t I take his belief at face value and move on?” IndieWire called it "the year's most demented rom-com."

Of course, there have been many other big twists in cinematic history. Here is GamesRadar+'s selection of the best movie endings of all time.

Jack Shepherd

I'm the Entertainment Editor over here at GamesRadar+, bringing you all the latest movie and TV news, reviews, and features, plus I look after the Total Film and SFX sections and socials. I used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film