#CANNES22: “GOD’S CREATURES” REVIEW
By Amanda Gilmore
The atmospheric God’s Creatures questions the lengths a mother will go to protect her son.
Aileen (Emily Watson) is delighted when her beloved son, Brian (Paul Mescal), surprises her with his return to their Irish fishing village, back from Australia. But when Aileen’s young 20-something Co-worker Sarah (Aisling Franciosi) accuses Brian of sexual assault, Aileen‘s world crumbles. She lies to protect her son because she doesn’t think he would be capable of something so heinous. However, when Brian begins acting differently than the boy she once knew she must confront the truth.
Co-Directors Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer have created an eerie atmosphere in this Irish village. Right from the start, we see the danger that comes with living near the rugged Irish coast. The unforgiving waves and forceful winds feel like warning signs. They mix these stunning shots with impeccable sound design, thrusting the audience into their whistling town.
A lot of the First Act is spent creating this atmosphere. Due to this, there are some slow moments but once we get into the heart of the story everything kicks into high gear. It’s clear something is off with Brian. One night after coming home from the pub, he has a creepy conversation with his ill grandfather. This moment works due to the textured, often chilling performance from Mescal.
The heart of the story asks an uncomfortable question: How far will a mother go to protect her child and at what cost? Watson is outstanding as Aileen. Her nuanced performance allows the audience to feel every emotion towards her. When she’s siding with her son we are angry. However, Screenwriter Shane Crowley infuses his Script with scenes that force Aileen to face the facts.
These moments touch on the depressing reality of what people actually say about sexual assault survivors. However, set in this tiny village each vile remark and action towards Sarah is magnified. Franciosi gives a strong performance as a woman who transforms completely in the aftermath of this trauma.
God’s Creatures screens at Cannes ’22 as part of the Director’s Fortnight:
Thu, May 19 at 8:30 AM at THÉÂTRE CROISETTE
Thu, May 18 at 8:45 PM at THÉÂTRE CROISETTE
Fri, May 20 at 2 PM at LICORNE
Fri, May 20 at 7 PM at ALEXANDRE III
Fri, May 20 at 10:45 at ARCADES 1
Fri, May 27 at 11 AM at THÉÂTRE CROISETTE