Women are intriguingly tipping the scale of power in their favor with the new comedy-drama, Mark, Mary & Some Other People. In her second turn as a feature writer-director, accomplished actress, Hannah Marks, is proving her versatility as a filmmaker by exploring the social and personal ramifications that having an open relationship has on a young, newly married couple, particularly the woman.
The scribe-helmer’s personal and relatable approach to showcasing how polyamory is sure to turn the comedy-drama into one of the first famous, mainstream movies about a woman instigating an open relationship within her marriage. The women empowerment movie, which had its World Premiere this week during the US Narrative Competition at the Tribeca Film Festival, deserves to garner attention for its revitalization of female-driven storytelling.
Mark, Mary & Some Other People follows the title characters (Ben Rosenfield and Hayley Law), who were acquaintances in college, as they randomly run into each other at a drug store while Mary is buying a pregnancy test. After the test comes back negative, the two decide to star dating, and quickly fall in love.
But the duo soon discovers that Mark has a more traditional view of relationships, while Mary’s perspective is more modern and progressive. After she realizes that she may not be ready to truly commit to one romantic relationship for the rest of her life, after they quickly marry, she suggests to her new husband that they try what she calls ethical non-monogamy.
While Mark is initially hesitant about the idea, he eventually agrees to try creating their own version of an open relationship, while also trying to balance their fledgling careers. Through a series of ups and downs, Mary starts to realize she’s more traditional than she initially thought, while Mark starts to open up and sees the world differently through their polyamorous lens.
With the romantic comedy-drama, Marks created a brilliantly radiant story that perfectly captures the struggles that people, particularly women, contend with as young adults, as they struggle to navigate their life’s direction and purpose. The characters of Mark and Mary are both grounded in authenticity as they grapple with not only discovering what they want to do with the rest of their lives professionally, but also with how they can relate to, and truly love, each other. The role reversals between the new spouses-Mark being more traditional in his views of their marriage, and Mary doubting if their love is strong enough to make their connection last-truly emphasizes the important relevant messages that gender roles are becoming trickier to define in modern American society.
Rosenfield and Law were perfectly cast in the title roles, as they naturally brought Mark and Mary’s distinctive characteristics to life. The SAG Award-nominated actor naturally brought Mark’s hesitance to stray outside his marriage to life, which reflects the fact that he pursued Mary when they initially reconnected at the store, as she was distracted with needing to take the pregnancy test. Rosenfield also perfectly highlighted that as a traditionalist, Mark is committed to remaining faithful to his new wife, but agrees to try having an open relationship, in order to please her.
While the actor memorably brings his character’s evolution to life throughout the story, as Mark eventually becomes much more comfortable in exploring other relationships, Law is the true stand-out star in the film. She infused Mary with a strong sense of pride in her beliefs, and showed the character also refuses to let anyone diminish her power as a strong-willed woman. Mark’s wife refuses to allow him, or any man she encounters, put down women’s worth. The actress used that strength to naturally turn Mary into an unforgettable female protagonist who fearlessly fights for women’s rights and equality.
Rosenfield and Law’s outstanding performances are highlighted by the movie’s distinct score, which was created by film and television composer, Patrick Stump, who’s also the lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist of Fall Out Boy. The Grammy Award-nominated musician crafted bold songs that were performed by Mary and the rock-n-roll band she sings for, which perfectly reflect her ever-evolving and conflicting emotions about whether or not she and Mark should continue their open relationship. The culmination of all of the couple’s stresses are not only included in Mary’s powerful lyrics, but also Law’s musical performances, which are fueled by emotional and physical anguish.
Mark, Mary & Some Other People is a daring, intimate exploration into gender role reversals in traditional relationships. The female empowerment-inspired comedy-drama is a much needed exploration into how women are fearlessly taking control of what they want in their romantic lives, as Mary is the one who initiates the conversation of turning her marriage into a polygamous relationship. With Mark being the one who’s nervous about the change in their marriage at first, the movie cleverly subverts gender cliches.
With the aid of Rosenfield and Law’s natural connection and chemistry on screen, as well as Stump’s enthralling, reflective score, the title characters truly and relatably grow outside their comfort zones. Mark, Mary & Some Other People is a passionate, emotional tale that society needs right now during the continued fight for gender equality.