A grand debut; beautifully designed, directed and performed. Wildlife takes us behind the suburban veneer into the awkward world of dysfunctional adult relationships as seen from a child's perspective. More than anything, it's the story of a woman's desperate survival tactics in a time where woman had little autonomy and a Man's retreat, crumbling under the weight of living up to society's expectations. 4 stars
3.75ish - very impressive directorial debut from Paul Dano. a quiet, melancholic film that is frequently beautiful to look at thanks to the period setting and Diego Garcia's collaborative work behind the camera with Dano. Mulligan, Gyllenhaal and Oxenbould all deliver effective performances as a family trying to figure out individually how to keep themselves together.
The greatest fire here was Jake Gyllenhaal in a fitting white shirt and Carey Mulligan watery eyes and sassy attitude as an abandoned wife. I liked how the parents treated their 14-year-old son as an adult - that's the aspect that really makes this a period piece: nothing was sugar-coated for the boy. Paul Dano makes a beautiful debut in the directing chair with this portrait of a burning family.
It is for sure a convincing film debut for Paul Dano and his wife Zoe Kazan (script). Before even the classicism that installs slowly Dano, what catches the eye immediately is the beautiful cinematography from Diego Garcia (Reygadas, Weerasethakul) and the landscapes of Montana. Oxenbould was also a nice surprise. For the rest, everybody is very professional but i find the modesty of it all a bit underwhelming.
Shades of Bergman in its mannered cinematic approach, familial focus, and gut-wrenching intimacy. The ending feels both too neat and drawn out. And there are moments when Dano shows too much, while the faces of his marvelous actors tell us all we need to know. And yet, few domestic dramas in recent memory have hypnotised and terrified me like this one. Programme with Hereditary for a family-friendly double bill.
The actors carry the same sad-eyed weariness we encounter with Paul Dano in many of his roles. Superb performances by the entire cast. Dano and Kazan capture that strange shift into adulthood when we began to realize the complexities of relationships. I thought the film's visual style was lovely.
3.5* - Possibly too quiet and classy for my tastes. Mulligan/ Gyllenhaal are great but Oxenbould is the true MVP in this - he's not cute enough to be immediately endearing but he works toward breaking your heart. Maybe Revolutionary Road set the bar for the modern melodrama too damn high but I couldn't stop thinking about it as Mulligan kept quietly screaming into her dinner.