Wildlife (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Wildlife film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Dano
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onWildlife
by Richard Ford
Music byDavid Lang
CinematographyDiego García
Edited by
Distributed by
Release date
  • January 20, 2018 (2018-01-20) (Sundance)
  • October 19, 2018 (2018-10-19) (United States)
Running time
104 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Box office$3.8 million[3][4]

Wildlife is a 2018 American drama film directed and co-produced by Paul Dano in his directorial debut, starring Ed Oxenbould, Carey Mulligan, and Jake Gyllenhaal. The screenplay, written by Dano and Zoe Kazan, is based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Richard Ford.

The film was acclaimed by critics, with many praising Mulligan and Gyllenhaal's performances. In December 2018, the film received award for "Best Film" at the 36th Torino Film Festival. The film is dedicated to the late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.

The film had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018.[5] It was released in the United States on October 19 and in the United Kingdom on November 9, 2018. It was made available on Netflix in fall 2020.


In 1960, Jeannette and Jerry Brinson have recently moved to Great Falls, Montana with their teenage son Joe. Tensions build after Jerry is fired from a job as a golf pro at a country club. He is offered his old job back but refuses out of pride, and instead of looking for work, he sleeps in his car and watches the local firefighting efforts against a forest fire raging in nearby mountains. To support the family as Jerry looks for a job, Jeannette takes a job as a swimming instructor, while Joe works at a local photography studio. One day, Jerry decides to take a low-paying job fighting the forest fire, which upsets Jeannette and worries Joe. Jeannette speaks openly about her strained marriage with Jerry to Joe, and the stress of the situation takes a minor toll on Joe's school life.

While Jerry is away, Jeannette becomes romantically involved with one of her students, Warren Miller, a prosperous older man who owns an automobile dealership. Joe is repeatedly left alone as Jeannette spends time with Miller, initially under the guise of being employed by him, and Jeannette opens up about her dissatisfaction and restlessness. One night, after a dinner hosted by Miller, Miller dances with a drunken Jeannette and kisses her; he spends the night at Joe's house, which a shocked Joe discovers later that night. After Miller leaves, Joe confronts Jeannette about the affair. Jeannette does not admit to caring about Miller or no longer loving Jerry, but concedes that the affair will make their life financially better, and she implores Joe to think of a better plan for her. He tells her that he cannot.

Jerry returns and is met with a lukewarm reception by Jeannette, who reveals that she has begun renting an apartment in town, and Joe is free to stay with her. Devastated and suspecting an affair, Jerry gets Joe to admit to her relationship. Furious upon hearing that Miller slept with Jeannette in the family house, Jerry drunkenly goes to Miller's house and tries to set it ablaze. Miller catches him in the act and confronts him, admonishing him about his behavior with Joe present. When an injured Jerry pleads with Joe to help him escape before the police arrive, Joe flees on foot to the police station, where he discovers his father has not been arrested. Returning to the house, he learns from Jerry that Miller will not press charges, but his parents' marriage is over.

Jeannette moves to Portland, Oregon to teach, while Joe lives peacefully with Jerry, who has become a successful salesman. Jeannette returns spontaneously one weekend to a strained, but polite, reunion, where she learns Joe has been promoted and is on the honor roll. Joe takes his parents to the photography studio, where he requests that they take a family portrait for his sake. An uncomfortable Jeannette is initially reluctant, but accepts, and the family takes one final portrait together.




In July 2016, it was announced that Paul Dano would adapt Richard Ford's novel with a script he had co-written with Zoe Kazan, and that neither Dano nor Kazan would act in the film.[6] Dano said, "in Richard’s book I saw myself and many others. I have always wanted to make films—and have always known I would make films about family."[7] He has also said that this is the first in a series of films he wants to make about dysfunctional families.[8] The film was produced by June Pictures and Nine Stories Productions.[9]

In September 2016, it was announced that Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan would star in the film.[9] American composer David Lang wrote the score.


Principal photography took place in Montana and Oklahoma (due to concerns with the winter weather in Montana).[10]


Carey Mulligan at TIFF showing (September, 2018)

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2018.[11][12] Shortly after, IFC Films acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film.[13] It screened at the Cannes Film Festival on May 9, 2018.[14] It also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 6, 2018,[15][16] the New York Film Festival on September 30, 2018,[17] the Woodstock Film Festival on October 13, 2018, and the New Orleans Film Festival on October 18, 2018.[18] Wildlife was released in the United States on October 19, 2018.[19]


Critical response[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 93% based on 203 reviews, and an average rating of 7.7/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Wildlife's portrait of a family in crisis is beautifully composed by director Paul Dano -- and brought brilliantly to life by a career-best performance from Carey Mulligan."[20] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 80 out of 100, based on reviews from 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[21]

New York Times critic Glenn Kenny called Wildlife a "superb film," calling it "a domestic drama both sad and terrifying." Kenny praised the cast for "exceptional" acting, and said that Mulligan "gives the best performance of any I’ve seen in film this year." He called Oxenbould "an exciting find" and stated of Dano's direction as "meticulous in every respect, which enables him to keep the characters at a remove that is both cleareyed and compassionate. The sharp cinematography by Diego Garcia is ideal for Dano’s purpose. The whole of the film is a potent collaboration in every respect, and a remarkable directorial debut".[22]

Writing for RogerEbert.com, Brian Tallerico gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying, "This is an accomplished, moving piece of filmmaking, one that cares about its characters and trusts its performers. It comes from a relatively old school of dramatic storytelling but it connects emotionally because of Dano’s tender but confident work and what he’s able to draw from two of the best performers of their generation."[23] Variety's Owen Gleiberman called Dano "a natural-born filmmaker, with an eye for elegant spare compositions that refrain from being too showy" and gave the film 4 out of 5 stars.[24]

David Edelstein, writing for Vulture gave the film full marks, calling the film "superb", saying "[Dano] gives his actors space so that the rhythms are their own, and they hold us through the tough final scenes and bittersweet ending."[25] The Guardian's Jordan Hoffman gave the film three stars out of five, saying "It is a quiet, subtle story and, as is so often the case when an actor takes their first trip behind the camera, a showcase for terrific performances."[26]

Criterion release[edit]

On February 14, 2020, it was announced that The Criterion Collection selected the film to be released on DVD and Blu-ray.[27]

The release includes:

  • New interviews with director Paul Dano, screenwriter Zoe Kazan, actors Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal,
    cinematographer Diego García, production designer Akin McKenzie, and costume designer Amanda Ford
  • New conversation on the film's postproduction with Dano, editor Matthew Hannam, and composer David Lang
  • A Film at Lincoln Center conversation from 2018 between Dano and novelist Richard Ford about the film's source material
  • A booklet with an essay by critic Mark Harris

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2018 Cannes Film Festival Caméra d'Or Wildlife Nominated [28]
2018 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Paul Dano Nominated
2019 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Young Performer Ed Oxenbould Nominated
2019 Independent Spirit Awards Best Female Lead Carey Mulligan Nominated
Best First Feature Paul Dano Nominated
Best Cinematography Diego Garcia Nominated
2018 London Film Festival First Feature Wildlife Nominated
2018 Torino Film Festival Best Feature Film Paul Dano Won
2018 Zurich Film Festival Best International Feature Film Nominated
2018 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Best Film Wildlife 9th Place
Youth in Film - Male Ed Oxenbould Won


  1. ^ a b "WILDLIFE". Stage6.
  2. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (January 20, 2018). "Sundance Film Review: 'Wildlife'". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  3. ^ "Wildlife (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  4. ^ "Wildlife (2018)". The Numbers. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  5. ^ Debruge, Peter (November 29, 2017). "Sundance Film Festival Unveils Full 2018 Features Lineup". Variety. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  6. ^ McNary, Dave (July 29, 2016). "Paul Dano to Make Directorial Debut With Indie Drama 'Wildlife'". Variety. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  7. ^ Smith, Nigel (September 23, 2016). "Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan to star in Paul Dano's Wildlife". The Guardian. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  8. ^ Maniglia, Valentin (May 16, 2018). "THE SOUND OF CANNES #1". magazine.scoreit.org. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Pedersen, Erik (September 23, 2016). "Jake Gyllenhaal & Carey Mulligan Star In 'Wildlife', Paul Dano's Directing Debut". Deadline. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  10. ^ Asher, Sally (October 28, 2016). "Movie to be partially filmed in Enid". enidnews.com. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  11. ^ Debruge, Peter (November 29, 2017). "Sundance Film Festival Unveils Full 2018 Features Lineup". Variety. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  12. ^ Hayes, Eric (January 21, 2018). "Day 3: Carey Mulligan Embarks on a Frantic Search for Meaning in Paul Dano's 'Wildlife'; Lakeith Stanfield Stars in a Delightful Oddity". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  13. ^ Hipes, Patrick (February 12, 2018). "Paul Dano's 'Wildlife' Acquired By IFC Films After Sundance Bow". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  14. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (April 16, 2018). "'Wildlife' With Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan to Headline Cannes Critics' Week". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  15. ^ Vlessing, Etan (July 24, 2018). "Toronto: Timothee Chalamet Starrer 'Beautiful Boy,' Dan Fogelman's 'Life Itself' Among Festival Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  16. ^ "Wildlife". Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  17. ^ "Wildlife". New York Film Festival. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  18. ^ "Wildlife | New Orleans Film Society". neworleansfilmsociety.org. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  19. ^ Erbland, Kate (July 23, 2018). "'Wildlife': First-Time Filmmaker Paul Dano on How Zoe Kazan Helped Him Make His Passion Project". IndieWire. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  20. ^ "Wildlife (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 26, 2020.
  21. ^ "Wildlife Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 4, 2018.
  22. ^ Kenny, Glenn (October 18, 2018). "Review: In 'Wildlife,' Passions Run Rampant". New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  23. ^ Tallerico, Brian. "Wildlife Movie Review & Film Summary (2018) | Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  24. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (January 21, 2018). "Film Review: 'Wildlife'". Variety. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  25. ^ Edelstein, David. "Wildlife Is Superb — and a Major Moment for Carey Mulligan". Vulture. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  26. ^ Hoffman, Jordan (January 22, 2018). "Wildlife review - Carey Mulligan plays flirtatious under big skies in Paul Dano's directorial debut". the Guardian. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  27. ^ "Wildlife (2018)". The Criterion Collection. Janus Films. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  28. ^ "Paul Dano - Awards". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 28, 2020.

External links[edit]