Review: The opening shot of Wildlife paints an idyllic picture of American life in the 1960s in Great Falls, Montana. The life of the married couple, Jeanette and Jerry Brinson, played by Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal appear blissful at first glance with their son, Joe, who is quite ahead in his class. However, tough circumstances and financial crisis test them when Jerry loses his job and has to move away from his family to take up a job, which doesn’t pay very well. Jeanette, who has never been truly independent, finds comfort in a divorced old man.
All this takes a toll on Joe who finds the changes in his mother’s behaviour overnight challenging and finds it difficult to cope with schoolwork and life in general. This could easily have been just an average film, but where Dano and Zoe Kazan’s screenplay shines is its nuanced take on all the characters without attempting to paint them in black and white hues of morality. It manages not to go overboard with melodrama, and Carey Mulligan presents her best performance yet, beautifully complemented by the intense Jake Gyllenhaal.
The cinematography is amazing too, alternating between spectacular wide-angle shots and the more intimate close-ups. My rating is a solid 4/5.
Who should watch this: If you like films and TV shows that take a deeper dive into themes like extramarital affairs and family crisis, give this one a watch. And if you enjoy this one, don’t miss Revolutionary Road, Little Children, Mildred Pierce and Olive Kitteridge.