“Wildlife” - Movie review

Well, ain't this a wild life, son?

My review - ◉◉◉◉◎



Directed by Paul Dano

Written by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan based on a book by Richard Ford

With Carey Mulligan, Jack Gyllenhaal, Ed Oxenbould…

With his directorial debut, Paul Dano features a marriage on the verge of breaking seen through the eyes of the teenage son Joe (Ed Oxenbould) in the wonderfully nuanced “Wildlife”

Set in the 1960s in a small Montana town, the film follows the Brinson family as the unit disassembles in a quiet desperation with wildfires ravaging the nearby Montana’s forests. 

Jerry Brinson (played by the wonderful Jake Gyllenhaal) moved his family a lot in order to find better work for himself. Jerry was a man chasing the American dream but becomes disillusioned after loosing his job at a golf pro country club. Too proud to take his job back after it was offered or to bag groceries he leaves his family to go fight the enormous wildfires. His departure suggests the end of his marriage to Jeannette. 

Carry Mulligan gives one of a her greatest performance as Jeannette Brinson, a dutiful wife and mother struggling to find a place for herself. As the family struggles to pay bills, she takes on a part-time job as a swimming instructor at the local YMCA. She becomes attracted to one of her student, the rich car salesman and war veteran Warren Miller (Bill Camp), whose wife left him. 

As the movie progresses Jeannette gradually puts aside her job as a mother to reclaim her independence and her single woman status and give into Warren’s advances. She stops setting aside her feelings and finds a new life for herself igniting another kind of fire within her family. 

Their teenage son Joe finds himself in the middle, observing helplessly the slow fracturing of his family. Oxenbould gives a subtle performance of a powerless boy hoping for his family to stay together. 

With Dano’s conscientious direction and Diego Garcia’s sharp cinematography, “Wildlife” is a beautiful, emotional and compassionate film to watch.