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#TIFF18 Review: Wildlife

September 10, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★½ (out of 4)

The directorial debut of Paul Dano, who co-wrote the script with his wife Zoe Kazan, Wildlife is told from the point of view of Joe Brinson (Ed Oxenbould), a young teenager in 1960s Montana who is forced to watch his family fall apart when his father Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job and decides to leave town to help fight a forest fire, and his mother Jeannette (Carey Mulligan) takes up with another man (Bill Camp).

Directed by Dano with an observant and low-key style, Wildlife is an indelible and beautifully made portrait of 1960s suburban malaise. The film is carried by excellent performances, with Ed Oxenbould bringing an incredible amount of depth to his role as a kid caught in the middle of a failing marriage, as Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal bring a great deal of nuance to their characters in a way that helps us understand them, even if we don’t always like their actions.

There is an underlying sense of sadness to Wildlife, with the story representing a sort of disillusion of the American Dream in a way that is haunting and quietly moving to watch. I have a feeling this one’s going to linger for a long time.

Jeannette (Carey Mulligan), Joe (Ed Oxenbould) and Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Wildlife

Public Screenings:

Monday, September 10th – 2:30 PM at Princess of Wales

Wednesday, September 12th – 5:45 PM at Ryerson Theatre

Saturday, September 15th – 6:15 PM at Winter Garden Theatre

The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6th to 16th.

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