In a nuanced portrait of a fractured family in 60s Montana, Carey Mulligan stuns in career-best performance.
Paul Dano, the next in a line of actor-turned-directors, creates a beautiful adaptation of Richard Ford’s novel along with co-writer and partner Zoe Kazan. When Jerry Brinson (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job at a golf course, his unemployment ignites a personal crisis, as he refuses to return even when they offer to take him back. Much to the bewilderment of his family, he goes off to fight wildfires for a dollar an hour instead!! Through the disoriented eyes of his son Joe (Ed Oxenbould) we see the difficulty a child faces as his homelife unravels; Ed’s performance is emotionally attuned to taking on the role of an adult - too early. While he and Gyllenhaal are both superb, it is Mulligan who shines through in her depiction of mother Jeanne. Her own fire raging in despair lit by Jerry’s decision, she does what she can to survive, abandoning the perfect persona of a mid-century housewife. Poignant and powerful in its detailed focus on the ways people process devastation. (research Rachel Williams)
Feels like Dano has been around D-Day Lewis too long. Oscar-baiting too.