Wildlife (2018)

Wildlife (2018)

2018 PG-13 104 Minutes


14-year-old Joe is the only child of Jeanette and Jerry—a housewife and a golf pro—in a small town in 1960s Montana. Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and...

Overall Rating

8 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • Wildlife impeccably presents a delicate family facing marital woes. It's important to note that Paul Dano's directorial efforts is his first yet. An actor transforming his knowledge of dramatic performances and pushing it through the camera lens, ensuring that his fellow actors are able to bloom like wild flowers in a sub-urban garden. Witnessed through the perspective of their son, a family are torn apart as they face financial difficulties, resulting in the wife committing adultery. Pure sensational gripping drama that feels nuanced yet powerful simultaneously. A relationship is breaking down, but it's the effect this has on their impressionable son that feels so profound. The need to support his mother, who recklessly becomes selfish, as his father succumbs to pride after losing his job and leaving them behind for another. Stepping up in getting a part-time job, consequently falling behind in education. It's a role reversal. The adults behave like children and the son becomes the man of the house. These actions never once feel forced, the development is presented naturally. Simple, sumptuous and saddening. This is an actor's film. An enclosed environment allowing Gyllenhaal and Mulligan to dramatically entrance us through fierce confrontations and misguided actions. Superb acting I must say, especially from Mulligan. However it's Oxenbould who holds the film together through his fragility and innocence. A sterling performance from this rising star. Dano's directing was outstanding also. From the enhanced ambience of the sub-urban wildlife to the picturesque landscape shots of wild fires. His focus is always on the drama, and he rarely lets you go. I would say the sub-plot involving Joe's school friend was underdeveloped and provided no real development for his character. Further time spent on the family at the beginning when they were more happy would also have helped increase the emotional investment later on, but these are small criticisms. For a directorial debut, Wildlife flourishes in beautiful performances and touching drama. A promising start to Dano's directing career.