#REVIEW: “MY DAYS OF MERCY”
Review by Amanda Gilmore
While we’re unclear where My Days of Mercy truly stands on the matter of Capital Punishment, My Days of Mercy is a compelling love story propelled by the strength of its two stars.
Lucy (Ellen Page) and her siblings are trying to save their father from lethal injection. Their love for their father has ignited a passion to protest against Capital Punishment at state executions. It’s at one of these protests that Lucy meets Mercy (Kate Mara) who attends an execution in support of the death penalty. Yet, despite their opposing views they develop a powerful connection and are deeply drawn to one another.
My Days of Mercy is a fresh take on the ‘forbidden’ love story genre. Screenwriter Joe Barton examines the power of love when it’s tested by polar moral stances. There is never a question of the love shared between Lucy and Mercy. Yet, we’re left questioning if they will be able to survive together. Barton achieves this tug-and-pull by giving his enriched characters momentous life circumstances which have rooted their death row positions. Lucy is trying to save her only parent from death and Mercy has witnessed the relief one feels when a convicted murderer is lethally-injected. These clashing views are superimposed through the powerful direction by Tali Shalom-Ezer who contrasts Lucy and Mercy’s moments of affection with their individual familial lives.
No matter their political view, we become fully invested in their romance due to the captivating performances from co-producers and actors Page and Mara. Both give weighty performances infused with delicate, quiet moments that convey their characters intense desires, and their chemistry is palpable. Yet, it’s Page who is a revelation as Lucy. She brings a complex, nuanced performance of a woman longing for connection while internally wrestling with her father’s sentence.
In the end, the Film never makes a clear argument for or against Death Penalty, leaving it open-ended and thought-provoking. It rather creates an understanding of both sides and leaves room for conversation. Where My Days of Mercy falters is its heavy-handedness on the melodrama. But those moments were saved thanks to the stellar performances from its two leads.
A71 Films release MY DAYS OF MERCY digitally and on-demand Friday, August 26, 2020.