Movie Review: Wildlife

The new movie “Wildlife” is a low budget, understated story about real life in Montana in 1960 where the mountains and vistas are many but the jobs are very few.

When the jobs are few and what jobs there are – are bad and low paying, the desperation and fear increases as people are more terrified of a bad day at work or the random whim of an employer that can send a life spiraling downward. The story of Wildlife is about what can happen when a man loses his job in 1960 in the middle of nowhere and all the things that can go wrong in a relationship once that happens. The young couple is played extremely well by Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal – with a performance so outstanding by Mulligan that she will most likely receive an Academy Award nomination for best actress. The couple have a teenage son, played by newcomer Ed Oxenbould in a role where he showed very little emotion despite all the bad things that are happening around him. Perhaps his wooden performance was by design because he was too overwhelmed to believe the downward spiral he was witnessing.

After being fired from his first job Jerry Brinson has too much pride to go back to the landscaping job he had with a local golf club and eventually decides because of his pride to fight fires in the wilderness. His wife Jeanette Brinson, played by Mulligan misunderstands her husband’s male pride as he leaves his family for months at a time and this is where things start to go downhill very quickly.

The acting in this complex and unusual story about a relationship that goes bad because of money is outstanding. Relationship money problems is a life reality that happens far too often in too many marriages. If you can’t get a decent job or no job at all, where do you live? How do you survive?

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Wildlife is a very high 95% and I agree with this assessment. I give a strong recommendation to Wildlife because of the engrossing story and outstanding acting of Carey Mulligan.

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