All the Little Animals (1999)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

In this fable set in England, Christian Bale stars as a mentally disabled man who is housebound for most of the 24 years of his life. After a dispute with his abusive father, he runs away to the countryside where he befriends John Hurt, a recluse with the strange habit of burying dead animals.

Rating: R (for some violence)
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Eski Thomas
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 19, 2003
Runtime:
Lions Gate

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Cast


as Mr. Summers

as De Winter

as Mr. Whiteside

as Lorry Driver

as Bobby's Mother

as Lepidopterist

as Ice Cream Vendor

as Young Bobby

as Child in Van

as Philip
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Critic Reviews for All the Little Animals

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (8)

Bale nimbly walks a fine line between Bobby's handicap and an increasingly mature comprehension of what he must do to survive.

Full Review… | September 9, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

A brave effort, certainly different, but all too emphatically an allegory.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Odd and banal.

Full Review… | July 21, 2005
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

Quite the off-kilter, half-baked eco-sermon to begin with, Thomas's movie crumbles in its last quarter or so like a stack of supermarket cans.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Village Voice
Top Critic

The adoption of 19th-century-melodrama conventions seems motivated mainly by a desire to tap into the emotional intensity they offer. I was enthralled by these tactics, but some viewers might gag.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

[It] refuses to reduce its story to simple terms, and the visible story seems like a manifestation of dark and secret undercurrents. Even the ending, which some will no doubt consider routine revenge, has a certain subterranean irony.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
At the Movies
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for All the Little Animals

½

Um...pretty good. Good acting and all that, and the plot is certainly odd and enjoyable. The moral of the story is don't kill animals, just kill people if they deserve it. The step father acts in the last half hour of the film in ways that don't make any sense, especially in his demise. I must also add that I get tired of movies where the main character goes on about how perfect nature is and how bad people are (i.e. Instinct). What this guy doesn't get is that animals kill each other all the time, for food or for territory, or no apparent reason at all, that some animals need to eat dead animals to survive (so burying them only hurts animals), and that feeding mice and cockroaches so they don't 'steal' from you is really only going to increase the population of these creatures until they will steal from you. These mentalities are only fit for 'against the man' high school children and for environmentalists who have never stepped foot outside or read a book about how violent and unfair nature is. Ok, the end.

puffchunk
Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

I am a big fan of Christian Bale and, for many years more, of John Hurt. They both do their very best with these characters and I'm certain that with less talented actors this could have been an abysmal film. There are noticeable flaws in the logic of the plot and some pretty tacky direction which in combination make it seem rather like a B-grade afternoon kids soapie.

Too many scenes are either unnecessary or painfully drawn out. It's very likely that some artful editing would have made a vastly superior 80 minute feature from this 112 minutes.

Being vegetarian and an animal lover, I felt some empathy for the main characters but there's not all that much depth to them. The evil step-father is portrayed as just too much of a villainous cliché.

matertenebraum
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

As Bobby(Christian Bale) tells it, due to being hit by a car as a child, his brain is not quite right and is unable to understand complex issues, leaving him in a childlike state and possibly vulnerable to the manipulations of his wicked stepfather(Daniel Benzali) after the death of his mother(Amy Robbins). That being said, mama did not raise any idiots, as Bobby firmly resists any efforts to sign away his mother's store, even under threats and his pet mouse being killed. So, Bobby does the only sensible thing by going for a long walk, before hitching a ride to Cornwall with a trucker(John O'Toole) who tries to run over a fox. In stopping him, Bobby causes the truck to crash before encountering Mr. Summers(John Hurt) who has more sympathy for a dead rabbit than the dead truck driver.

"All the Little Animals" has certain things going for it like excellent acting and pleasant scenery. And I like that the movie is about people attempting to live off the grid, especially the bit about the Travelers. But sadly, it takes a pedestrian approach to this potentially interesting material, which does not allow the viewer to fully grasp what the world looks like through Bobby's eyes, as the movie cannot decide whether the world of animals is less cruel than that of humans or that Bobby and Summers have their priorities thoroughly out of whack. That's not to mention the movie eventually falling into a cliched trap of a climax.

Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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