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Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Ed Oxenbould, Bill Camp

Director: Paul Dano

Genre: Drama

Year: 2018

Rating: PG-13

A boy witnesses his parents' marriage falling apart after his mother finds another man.

'Wildlife' tells the story of Jeanette, Jerry and their 14-year-old son, Joe. They live in a small town in Montana and it is the 1960's. Jerry is a golf pro while Jeanette stays home and takes care of Joe. But things change for the couple when Jerry all of a sudden loses his job. This affects him greatly as he seems lost but when he hears about the wild fires that are burning he decides to up and leave to go help put them out.

This leaves Jeanette alone with her son and it seems to be too much for her to handle. Before long she begins acting strange and even hooks up with an older man in town, which takes its toll on young Joe. When the snow finally comes Jerry returns home to what is now a broken family.

'Wildlife' is a character-driven drama about a complex family in the 1960's. First we witness the family in happier times and then when Jerry loses his job we get to see him lose all sense of belonging and then after he leaves to fight the wild fires we get to see Jeanette completely go off the deep in which sends the entire family spiraling out of control. And then there is Joe who has to be home alone with his mother and he has to witness her decline with no one to help him.

I had mixed feelings about the characters throughout the film. Early on of course the family was doing fine and the couple seemed to get along but things all changed when Jerry lost his job and was not willing to take a job bagging groceries. After he leaves, Jeanette begins to lost it but for me the focus went to Joe. You really feel for the young boy and I became very angry by Jeanette's actions when she had a young boy to care for.

At first I wondered what the title of the film meant but as it moves along you realize it is indeed a perfect title. The film is actor, Paul Dano's directorial debut. He also wrote the film with Zoe Kazan, I always loved Dano as an actor and I have to say he did a fantastic job behind the camera especially since it was his first time. Dano had to feel really comfortable behind the camera with the stellar cast he had to direct. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jerry, Carey Mulligan as Jeanette and Ed Oxenbould as Joe. Carey Mulligan drives the film with her crazed portrayal of a wife and mother who goes off the deep end and while Jake Gyllenhaal is absent from the film for a good bit of time he still shines during his time on screen. Ed Oxenbould is also fantastic as Joe. The supporting cast was all terrific as well including Bill Camp and Zoe Margaret Colletti.

'Wildlife' is a film about a complex family but for me it was most of all a coming of age film about the young boy. It was the kind of drama that had me smiling at times and angry at other times. When a film can have me feeling mixed emotions then I consider it a good film. while it may not be perfect I thought it was a solid piece of cinema that was well shot, directed and acted. It is a heart breaking film and also shows a little glimmer of hope.

'Wildlife' will be in Theaters on Oct 19th so be sure to check it out if you like a good drama.

Released by IFC Films. *** 3/4 Out Of *****