Movie Gal Says Wildlife Is A Different Slice Of LifeBy Caroline Cao | September 26, 2018 | Entertainment
Every once in a while, it’s interesting to see a different side of life. And when it stars #WBWD Jake Gyllenhaal, we’re all in. Though in┬áWildlife, our focal point is that of a young boy, 14-year-old Joe Brinson, played with contemplative somberness by 17-year-old Australian actor Ed Oxenbould.
The Brinsons are a struggling nuclear family in the 60s. The patriarch Jerry (Gyllenhaal) is trying to make ends meet. When he loses his job, rather than finding a better paying functional job, the father finds his calling in a low-paying yet high-hazard firefighter job putting out devastating wildfires, which requires him to be away from home. In his absence, his wife and child pay dearly for his mid-life crisis pursuit and have to figure out how to survive without a breadwinner.
Jeannette, played by Carey Mulligan shining as a wilting housewife with burgeoning headstrongness, is no faithful Penelope of the Odyssey. In the chasm her husband left, she searches for self-actualization sometimes in self-destructive ways, sometimes exposing her son to actions that would affect him emotionally. But even her disintegration as a housewife allows a (messy) blossoming for her, though it has its toxic effects on Joe who absorbs the events passively.
Even in its predictability, the low-key developments do feel cryptic in the eyes of a young boy. Screenwriters Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan dabble the words with a stark sensitivity, especially when Mulligan ruminates on her youth. Wildlife is an elegy to the loss of familial ideals, while also challenging the ties that bind nuclear family structures. Even when a fire is put out, the smell of ashes linger.
Wildlife, out in theaters Oct. 19.