We were lucky enough to see Paul Dano’s directorial debut Wildlife earlier this year at Sundance, and it totally wrecked us. We’re talking stepping-into-the-afternoon-sun-with-tears-on-our-face afternoon-ruining devastation, and we’re hoping that you’ll feel similarly, because we feel weird about crying in public and need emotional validation.
Anyways, IFC Films acquired the film at that festival, and they’re finally ready to give the world at large a first look at what Dano’s crafted here. It’s a tremendous first teaser, and we’re ready to watch it again right the fuck now, guys.
An adaptation of Richard Ford’s novel, Wildlife tells the story of the dissolution of a nuclear family in the ’60s, after the father (Jake Gyllenhaal) goes off to fight fire in the Montana wilderness and the mother (Carey Mulligan) decides she’s had enough with her life up to that point, leaving her son (Ed Oxenbould) to witness her attempts to court a new man (Bill Camp). It’s achingly sad but never crassly manipulative, and Dano captures his period setting — in both writing and in image — with an aplomb that often eludes more experienced filmmakers.
Mulligan, however, steals the show, and she’s fantastic in a way that you’ve never quite seen her be before. She was completely and totally deserving of what meager awards buzz she received back at the festival itself, and we can only imagine it getting louder from here. Gyllenhaal is great as well, but you’ve seen him be tender and whatnot, so it’s not not nearly as much of a shock. Tears are going to flow, so you might want to bring some tissues unless you feel comfortable eating extremely salty and tear-streaked popcorn.
As such, IFC has slated the film for a fall release, so it can be in primo awards-season positioning. This is a smart move on their part. We’re just a little frustrated that it’s going to take another five months for us to get to see Dano’s marvel again.