Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal and Australia’s Ed Oxenbould star in the directorial debut of actor Paul Dano, an intelligent and empathetic adaptation of Richard Ford’s novel about a teen dealing with his family falling apart in 1960s Montana.
Joe is 14 years old, a quiet and observant teen. His parents – mother Jeanette, fumbling with the expanding female world of 1960s America; and Jerry, struggling with what it means to be a man who can’t hold down a job or support his family – are drifting apart and when his dad leaves to fight a nearby wildfire, it’s the last straw. As Jeanette starts exploring her options outside of just being a wife and mother, Joe is forced into the awkward position of being both voyeur of and participant in his mother’s new life.
Paul Dano co-wrote the script with Zoe Kazan, and their sensitive, emotionally resonant adaptation of the source material makes for an elegantly refined film. A major coming-of-age offscreen as well as on for Oxenbould, WILDLIFE is a bittersweet and elegant debut. A hit at Sundance and Cannes, it’s buoyed by exquisite cinematography from Diego Garcia (Neon Bull, Cemetery of Splendour) and a fine-tuned attention to period detail that underscores its exceptional performances.