Beast (2017 film)

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Beast (2017 film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael Pearce
Produced byKristian Brodie
Lauren Dark
Ivana MacKinnon
Written byMichael Pearce
StarringJessie Buckley
Johnny Flynn
Geraldine James
CinematographyBenjamin Kracun
Edited byMaya Maffioli
Agile Films
Stray Bear Productions
Distributed by30 West
Release date
  • September 9, 2017 (2017-09-09) (TIFF)
  • April 27, 2018 (2018-04-27) (United Kingdom)
Running time
106 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom

Beast is a 2017 British psychological thriller film written and directed by Michael Pearce, starring Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, and Geraldine James.

The film had its world premiere in the Platform section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.[2]


27-year-old Moll works as a tour guide while living with her wealthy parents to help care for her father with dementia. The community is on-edge following a string of unsolved rapes and murders of young women in the area.

During Moll's birthday party, her sister hijacks the reception to announce that she is pregnant with twins. Irritated at being upstaged, Moll leaves the party and goes to a nightclub, where she dances with a young man she meets there. The man aggressively pursues her as they leave the club and forces himself upon her near the beach, but Moll is rescued by poacher Pascal, who fends off her pursuer with a hunting rifle. They strike up a romantic fling, much to her family's discomfort, due to his outsider status and suspicions surrounding the ongoing murder case. As their relationship blossoms, Moll reveals some of her troubled past to Pascal: as a teenager she stabbed one of her classmates, though she claims it was in self-defence.

A fourth murder victim is discovered, a girl who disappeared on the night of Moll's birthday party. Moll begins to wonder if Pascal might be involved. However, when she is questioned by Clifford, a police detective who has a crush on her, she lies about her first encounter with Pascal, claiming she met him at the nightclub and they danced there all night. Clifford informs her of Pascal's criminal past, which includes an assault charge for choking a girl as a teenager. Moll confronts Pascal about it and he reacts angrily, saying he has made mistakes in the past but regrets it to this day. They profess their love for each other and drop the argument.

At a family function at the local country club, Moll's sister calls for the staff when she notices that Pascal is wearing jeans against the club dress code. An indignant Moll causes a scene and is kicked out, disowning her family and defiling the golf course with a club. She moves in with Pascal, but is soon taken into custody on official police suspicion of his involvement in the murders. She repeats her prior claim about meeting him in the club. The lead detective accuses Moll of protecting a possible murderer and wonders aloud if she is seeking retribution against the community, to which Moll storms out.

Wracked with guilt over the latest murdered girl, Moll abandons her job and goes to a department store, where she finds the girl she stabbed as a teenager working. She apologizes and claims it was in self-defence; the employee reacts angrily and tells her to leave. Moll then goes to the deceased girl's memorial and comforts the girl's mother, but she is regarded as an outcast and told to leave.

Clifford visits Moll at her home and informs her that they caught the murderer: an immigrant farmer. He also apologizes for treating her with suspicion, but insists that Pascal is still bad news. Relieved, Moll celebrates by going out drinking with Pascal; during a drunken argument he choke-slams her against a wall in anger. Moll escapes to Clifford's house and admits to lying about Pascal's whereabouts on the night of the murder; he chastises her harshly and tells her to get out.

During a dinner date, Moll invites Pascal to admit his involvement in the murders, now convinced it was him. She coaxes him by admitting her own secret: that she stabbed the girl not in self-defence, but in revenge, trying to kill her. Pascal admits he is the murderer, saying that it's over and they meant nothing to him. She accepts his answer and they leave, but during the drive home, Moll unbuckles Pascal's seatbelt and intentionally crashes the car. Badly injured, he begs for forgiveness and claims that they are the same, but Moll ignores him and suffocates him to death before walking away.



30WEST acquired the North American distribution rights four days after its premiere[3] and the film was released in the U.S. in Spring 2018, after screening at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.[4]

Altitude Film Distribution acquired the distribution rights for the UK.[5] Beast had a limited theatrical release in the UK on April 27th.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

The film has received a positive critical response. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 94% based on 108 reviews, and an average rating of 7.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Beast plays like bleak poetry, unfurling its psychological thrills while guided by its captivating leads and mesmerizing, visceral visuals."[7] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[8]

For The Canadian Press, David Friend called it "a twisty story about the monster that lies within all of us, and struggle to keep it contained."[9] Peter Howell of the Toronto Star said it was "a jagged but memorable feature... that slowly yields its truths."[10]


Award Date of Ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref
72nd British Academy Film Awards 10 February 2019 Best British Film Beast Nominated [11]
Debut by a British Writer/Director/Producer Michael Pearce & Lauren Dark Won [11]


  1. ^ Ide, Wendy (9 September 2017). "'Beast': Toronto Review". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Visionary Works From Internationally Acclaimed Directors Headline TIFF'S Platform Programme" (PDF) (Press release). Toronto International Film Festival. 3 August 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  3. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (13 September 2017). "'Beast' Acquired For North America By 30WEST In Upstart's Third Major Toronto Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (1 December 2017). "Jessie Buckley's Thriller 'Beast' Scheduled for Spring Release". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  5. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (22 September 2017). "Toronto hit 'Beast' scores UK distribution deal with Altitude (exclusive)". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  6. ^ Thompson, James (3 November 2017). "UK Release Date Confirmed For Beast". Filmoria. JGJ. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Beast (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Beast Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  9. ^ Friend, David (16 September 2017). "Five to watch: Standout TIFF films that flew under the radar". CTV/The Canadian Press. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Beast is a memorable debut for director Michael Pearce | The Star". Retrieved 2019-08-07.
  11. ^ a b "BAFTA Home Page". 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2019-02-15.

External links[edit]