By Felix Winternitz, Contributor
SYMMES TOWNSHIP, Ohio — If you’re a hot-shot Hollywood director looking to film a romantic movie scene in Greater Cincinnati, you might well choose the lofty Eiffel Tower at Kings Island. Or how ’bout inside the picturesque grand rotunda of Union Terminal. Or even any view overlooking the classic Queen City skyline.
Well, one set of movie producers actually chose our own Loveland Castle for their upcoming cinematic release, “My Days of Mercy,” due in select movie theaters and on direct TV streaming on July 5, 2019.
Producers and stars Ellen Page and Kate Mara enthusiastically picked Loveland Castle as a backdrop for their well-reviewed romance drama, noting the castle offered an appropriate moody setting for scenes in the film. The actress Page (who nabbed an Academy Award nomination for her role in “Juno”) even posted photos on her Instagram account as filming progressed inside the structure. Also called Chateau Laroche, the castle — which is now a public museum — was constructed by Loveland resident Harry D. Andrews along the Little Miami River, beginning way back in 1929.
The plot of “Mercy” concerns Lucy Moro (Page) as an anti-death penalty protester, fighting for the acquittal of her father who’s sitting on death row for the murder of her mother years before.
For the two performers, teaming on this dark drama of forbidden love offered the opportunity for these two friends to work together.
As the story unfolds, Lucy encounters attorney Mercy Bromage (Mara). Mercy takes a stark and opposite stance from Lucy on the topic of the death penalty. Despite the extreme political tensions erupting between the two, they finally begin a fling together.
The two characters even attend the execution of Lucy’s father, with the script offering pointed commentary on capital punishment in America.
Eventually, as the movie evolves, Lucy breaks up with Mercy after she learns that she has a boyfriend.
Six months later, however, Lucy is working as a waitress when she again bumps into Mercy. Mercy struggles to rekindle their romance, but Lucy rejects the proposal. As Page’s character notes, “I just don’t think you can come back into someone’s life like this.” Regardless, the pair awkwardly set up a date for later.
In an interview with Variety magazine, Page noted she hopes the film will touch audiences as it relates Lucy’s journey through pain and emotional upset. “She begins in a space where she doesn’t know how to move forward,” says Page. “As you can imagine, she’s dealing with a lot of trauma. The journey of this love growing shatters her open and brings beautiful though difficult things.”
Page says she decided to partner with Mara to co-produce the motion picture because of its “compelling and captivating” script. The film is inspired, in part, by author John Grisham’s book, “An Innocent Man: Murder in a Small Town.” The film’s under-writers also produced the movie “Carol,” shot in Over-the-Rhine and other local locations.
On the movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has earned a 94 percent approval rating so far. The trade pubs The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Indie Wire have also weighed in favorably.
“Working with my dear friend Kate in this capacity has been extraordinary, exploring this and playing these characters together,” observes Page in retrospect. “The highlight was getting to make something with someone I really care about.”