Matt (O’Donnell, possibly the most unlikely romantic leading man in history) is a well-behaved teenager who likes playing with his telescope, until he sets eyes on quirky new-girl-in-town Casey (Barrymore). The two fall passionately in love, but – as every romantic drama aficionado should know – the path of true love never runs smooth. Before too long, Casey is committed to hospital by her parents after a suicide attempt and Matt helps her escape, blissfully unaware that Casey’s little eccentricities are in fact hints that she is a manic depressive.
This uneven, rather downbeat drama was an unusual choice as the first Hollywood movie for director Antonia Bird (Priest), and she doesn’t seem comfortable with her surroundings. O’Donnell and Barrymore try to do the best with the material they have and largely succeed, although Barrymore’s hysterical mannerisms during her depressive episodes are sometimes absurd rather than affecting. Quirky it may be, disappointing it definitely is – check out the similarly themed (but miles better) Crazy/Beautiful instead.
Is Mad Love suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...