Parents' Guide to

Wildlife

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Downbeat family drama has mature material.

Movie PG-13 2018 104 minutes
Wildlife Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

Beautifully acted film, pro-family themes, definitely for adults

This film has stellar acting performances. Carey Mulligan is incredible. But, as many indie films are, this film is a mature-only film with layered ideas and performances. Ultimately, it is a pro-family-themed film. But it presents that theme through complicated characters. Incredibly good writing.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

The directorial debut of actor Paul Dano, this dispiriting domestic drama is somewhat salvaged by its dedication to fine acting and by moments of stillness in which such acting can flourish. Based on a novel by Richard Ford (but feeling rather unlike Ford at the same time), Wildlife sometimes plays like a David Lynch-ian nightmare, in which characters sit around stiffly and speak banalities that cover up their true, roiling emotions. It's probably supposed to take place in a world before people spoke so openly about their feelings, but at the same time, it can't seem to find the connection between the characters' external actions and internal desires.

Gyllenhaal isn't on-screen long enough to flesh out his character, but his Jerry has some touching moments, especially his goodbye to his son before he leaves for the fire. Mulligan is the movie's centerpiece. With her "old soul" and pain-filled eyes, she takes the disconnect between her life and her inner turmoil and squeezes it together into madness. Jeanette's deterioration is truly disturbing, and yet somehow touching, too. Oxenbould's Joe is a passive character, mostly observing, mostly obedient, but the actor allows quiet, revealing moments of hurt to seep through, and he's heartbreaking. Camp is also quite good, somehow making his character into more of an enigma than a creep. It's not an easy watch, but Wildlife is an interesting calling card for Dano.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: October 19, 2018
  • On DVD or streaming: May 26, 2020
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal , Carey Mulligan , Ed Oxenbould
  • Director: Paul Dano
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: IFC Films
  • Genre: Drama
  • Topics: Book Characters
  • Run time: 104 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: thematic material including a sexual situation, brief strong language, and smoking
  • Last updated: January 9, 2023

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