Lucy (Ellen Page), the daughter of a man on death row, falls in love with Mercy (Kate Mara), a woman on the opposing side of her family’s political cause.
Capital punishment is not a typical focal point of a romantic drama, but My Days of Mercy gives a glimpse into the nomadic lifestyle of people on both sides of the protest who travel around the country to make their voices heard. As her own father waits for the date of his death, Lucy with her older sister Martha (Amy Seimetz) and her little brother Ben (Charlie Shotwell), spends weekends attending executions with a tight-knit group of anti-death-penalty protesters. Both sides have their placards with slogans and deeply held beliefs, but each side also seems to find a sense of community with the people they meet every weekend
When Lucy catches the eye of Mercy, they form a friendship that quickly evolves into something more as they spend the weekends they would normally be protesting on opposite sides, together instead. Page and Mara have brilliant chemistry and when they kiss for the first time, it’s like both Lucy and Mercy are finally able to forget everything else that’s going on in their lives and just follow their hearts and ignore their political differences.
I say their characters ignore their political differences, but really the film doesn’t make much of the fact that they met on opposing sides at all. Lucy has a personal stake in protesting the death penalty and while the first execution Mercy attends is related to her family, the rest she’s seen at seems like either an obligation on her part, or just a way to be able to see Lucy.
Even though My Days of Mercy is quite a slow, meandering film there almost seems to be too much happening for the film to focus on. There’s the dynamics at the protests, Lucy and Martha’s fight for their father to be taken off death row, and Lucy and Mercy’s blossoming relationship. All of these elements could potentially make up a film in their own right so having them all here together it almost does a disservice to them all.
There are some powerful scenes in My Days of Mercy and brilliant performances from Page, Mara and Seimetz. However, it doesn’t escape some of the clichés seen in films with an early-stages lesbian relationship and it never embraces its provocative setting with the capital punishment protesters.
Signature Entertainment presents My Days of Mercy in Cinemas and on Digital HD on 17th May
Starring: Ellen Page, Kate Mara, Amy Seimetz, Charlie Shotwell