Screened as part of NZIFF 2002

Very Annie Mary 2001

Directed by Sara Sugarman

France / UK In English
103 minutes

Director, Screenplay


Graham Broadbent, Damian Jones


Barry Ackroyd


Robin Sales


Stephen Warbeck


Rachel Griffiths
Jonathan Pryce
Ioan Gruffudd
Matthew Rhys
Kenneth Griffith
Ruth Madoc
Joanna Page
Rhys Miles Thomas


A winning ugly duckling tale from Wales, with a wonderfully droll sense of the ridiculous, Very Annie Mary is another deft turn for the amazing, risk-taking Rachel Griffiths. Annie-Mary is an awkward but lively 33-year-old whose confidence and opportunities have been stunted by her high and mighty father (an amusingly conceited Jonathan Pryce). Director Sara Sugarman has great sport with the famous Welsh love for singing – and more fun spoofing the movie fantasy of personal growth through show business. You can’t get far in the tiny village of Ogw without running into a choir practice, small boys polishing their Full Monty routine, or Annie-Mary’s father broadcasting his Pavarotti impersonation as he delivers the daily bread. He’s regarded locally as Wales’ greatest tenor, all the more reason, apparently, for Annie-Mary to abandon her own singing career, stay home and help out at the bakery… A house for sale and a karaoke competition are the catalysts for her long overdue emancipation. For all the high spirits, and occasional downright silliness, there’s a truthfulness in Griffiths’ performance that cuts to the heart. — BG 

"Like a punk playing a concertina or a ballerina smashing watermelons, Rachel Griffiths knows how to defy expectations and command attention. The star of Six Feet Under usually makes wise and creative choices and here she’s in fine form, delivering bucketfuls of yearning in the title role… Held aloft by her friends, Hob and Nob and the poetic, bedridden Bethan (Joanna Page), Annie-Mary, a childhood singing prodigy, struggles to regain her voice and claim her womanhood. Since this immensely charming climb to confidence is not about some dork’s fragile ego, it’s unlikely to win the acclaim it deserves, but do check it out… it’s vibrant, witty and richly detailed. As Annie-Mary sorts out her repressed town, her perilously low self-esteem and her postponed juvenile stupidity, the dialogue crackles and the movie exudes a refreshing sense of honesty. Her heavenly singing voice is dubbed by Meriel Andrew, yet Griffiths proves she’s that rare luminary who continually raises the standard of her profession." — Gregory Weinkauf, New Times LA