Wildlife (2018)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Wildlife's portrait of a family in crisis is beautifully composed by director Paul Dano -- and brought brilliantly to life by a career-best performance from Carey Mulligan.

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Elegantly adapted from Richard Ford's novel of the same name, Carey Mulligan (MUDBOUND, AN EDUCATION) delivers one of her finest performances to date as Jeanette, a complex woman whose self-determination and self-involvement disrupts the values and expectations of a 1960s nuclear family. Fourteen-year-old Joe played by newcomer Ed Oxenbould, is the only child of Jeanette (Mulligan) and Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal)--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 when Jerry loses his job--and his sense of purpose--he decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother's struggle as she tries to keep her head above water. With precise details and textures of its specific time and place, WILDLIFE commits to the viewpoint of a teenage boy observing the gradual dissolution of his parents' marriage.

Cast

Carey Mulligan
as Jeanette Brinson
Jake Gyllenhaal
as Jerry Brinson
Bill Camp
as Warren Miller
Ed Oxenbould
as Joe Brinson
Darryl Cox
as Clarence Snow

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Critic Reviews for Wildlife

All Critics (163) | Top Critics (33)

It's a story of its time, unfolding pre-women's lib, and Jeanette feels an inner frustration she can't even give voice to. But as "Wildlife" quietly rages, Mulligan lets it be felt.

Nov 15, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

"Wildlife" is the kind of movie whose low-key hush could get lost in all the buzz over the big-name, holiday-season releases. Sometimes, though, it's the quiet ones who make the most noise.

Nov 14, 2018 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Mulligan trembles like a souffle on the verge of collapse, and her unfortunate son can do little but watch and listen and do his best to grow up much too fast. Truth be told, it's his story - but it's Mulligan's movie.

Nov 9, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Here is a film with much to recommend - and yet the screenplay is just a little too uneven, and from time to time there's an unsettling creepiness and change in tone that seems inconsistent and manufactured, and I was left underwhelmed.

Nov 2, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

A jewel of eloquent understatement.

Nov 1, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

"Wildlife's" portrait of family life is much like the director's many onscreen performances - understated, sad-eyed, deeply affecting.

Nov 1, 2018 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

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