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Wildlife

 (142)
1 h 45 min201912
A teenage boy must deal with his mother's complicated responses after his father temporarily abandons them to take a menial and dangerous job.
Directors
Paul Dano
Starring
Carey MulliganJake GyllenhaalEd Oxenbould
Genres
Drama
Subtitles
None Available
Audio Languages
English
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Studio
Icon Film Distribution
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

142 global ratings

  1. 46% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 29% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 14% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 5% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

Keith MReviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 August 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Simple, Understated And Affecting
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First-time director Paul Dano’s 2018 adaptation of Richard Ford’s novel of the same name is a beautifully shot rendition of Ford’s ‘simple’ tale, featuring two outstanding performances by Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. On the face of it, this is another 'coming of age’ story as Ed Oxenbould’s 14-year old (reduced from 16-year old in the novel) son, Joe, to Mulligan and Gyllenhaal’s Jeanette and Jerry Brinson, attempts to come to terms with his parents’ increasingly fractious and distant relationship and Dano (and writer Zoe Kazan, Dano’s partner) captures Joe’s sense of confusion with an achingly moving sense of intimacy. There are some 'concrete’ reasons for the predicament the family find themselves in – they’ve recently moved home to remote 1960 Great Falls, Montana, Jerry is struggling to find work (having recently been sacked from his golf club job) and Joe needs to adapt to life at his new school. However, the real heart of Ford and Dano’s tale is something much less tangible, essentially, Joe’s inability to understand the vagaries of adult life – 'I don’t understand what you’re thinking’, Joe says to his mother early on in the film and this feeling resurfaces repeatedly (captured brilliantly via the young boy’s facial expressions) throughout. It is this juxtaposition – of Joe being baffled by life’s complexity and the film’s otherwise simple narrative – that is one of the film’s (and indeed the novel’s) greatest qualities.

The film also provides another memorable (primarily visual) juxtaposition, namely that of the relatively pedestrian, small-town existence of the Brinson family with that of its physical backdrop, the towering Rocky Mountains. Looming large over Great Falls’ existence and over Joe’s life is the presence (and, to Joe, the associated sense of the unknown) of the raging mountain wildfires, at the site of which Jerry insists on seeking work, against his wife’s wishes. Again, the fires (and his father’s course of action) are used as another mechanism through which Joe’s confusion is reinforced as, on being taken by his mother to witness the blazing inferno, Joe is forced to admit he cannot understand his father’s thinking. The final and probably the most traumatic experience for Joe’s 'conciliator’ is his mother’s 'fling’ with Bill Camp’s crippled, middle-aged car dealer, Warren Miller, which is captured with much painful and intimate intensity for the young boy.

All three leads here excel. The demands on the young Oxenbould and on Gyllenhaal (who is absent from screen for a good chunk of the middle of the film) are probably most easily met; however, it is Mulligan who really stands out here for the range of emotions on show. Having said this, Jeanette’s (rather too) rapid transformation from loving, supportive mother (and wife) to one of greater emotional distance is, for me, one of the film’s only flaws (albeit a narrative design, rather than acting per se, flaw). It is certainly a very solid (and stylish) directorial debut from Dano and, with its concluding photography studio scene, one with a beautifully poignant close.
2 people found this helpful
Steve W.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 March 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Why no subtitles?
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Good film, but let down by lack of subtitles. Some people require subtitles.
11 people found this helpful
Andy TReviewed in the United Kingdom on 07 May 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
What Did I Miss?
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I saw a load of tempting traillers for the film so bought a copy expecting it to be worthy of my time spent to watch it. On opening the packing I couldn't help but see all the stars from reviewers on the front cover of the DVD, 9 reviewers at 4 out of 5 and two at 5 out of 5, so was once again enthused about watching it. I just can't find any of the scenes sufficiently memorable to comment upon. The storyline was reasonably predictable and unexciting. It just didn't turn out to be the well crafted story I was hoping it would be. Maybe it didn't help that I'd shortly prior to watching it seen Schindler's List.
4 people found this helpful
W. A. D.Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 May 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
A minor masterpiece.
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A small masterpiece which is unrelentingly painful and grim. Outstanding performances, delicate direction and impressive photography contribute to a profound and moving account of a marriage falling apart and its impact on all concerned. My only caveat is the absurdly fast transition of the wife which was not very convincing and after a while the endless close up shots of the agonised son became rather too repetitive - still it’s so much better than the majority of other independent low budget movies and deserves its critical success.
3 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United Kingdom on 30 December 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Not my favourite Gyllenhaal film
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The seller was fine but I didn’t enjoy the dvd as much as I should have. Not my favourite Jake Gyllenhaal film I feel the film was let down by the not so good script and it spoilt the film for me. All the characters seemed too passive and there didn’t seem to be as much resolution at the end of the film. Still you have to watch the film for yourself to find out your own opinion.
Mr. P. RogersReviewed in the United Kingdom on 04 June 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent.
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Very moving and engaging. Excellent acting from the three leads.
2 people found this helpful
MsSaundersReviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 May 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great sad film
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Great film about a family. The acting is amazing. Sad film though so be warned.
2 people found this helpful
J. M. CattonReviewed in the United Kingdom on 27 December 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
A slow film with no ending
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I don't like popular wham bang top films, so this looked like my type of thing
However this was centered on a boy who sat in the middle of a failing marriage and has no reactions.
Then apparently it was all happily ever after.
Not that this made clear.
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