After Margaret, a divorcée living in Dublin, loses her teenage son, she develops an unorthodox relationship with Joe, a homeless youth. Their tentative trust is threatened by his involvement with a violent gang and the escalation of her ex-husband's grieving rage.


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  • ★★★★ review by Michael Scott on Letterboxd

    It takes a special kind of cinematic guts to throw a well-renowned actress playing a shell-shocked, emotionally-crippled mother into a swimming pool in the wake of Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours Blue. It’s an iconic use of colour and space and sound that immediately attracts comparison.

    Mammal’s director, Rebecca Daly, has guts. She also has Rachel Griffiths. Together they take that evocative vacuum of emotion and fill it in fascinating, often confronting ways. Grittier than the Kieślowski but moving in its own right.

    Griffiths is Margaret, a divorcee who, confronted with the loss of the son she abandoned, takes in Joe, a young runaway she finds unconscious on her doorstep. Joe, played with wounded, slightly menacing charisma by Barry Keoghan (and I’m trying hard not to overstate his magnetism), uncomfortably slips on the mantle of surrogate son but the mutual damage pushes both to seek a deeper connection.

    Daly has a controlled sense of silence. Along with co-screenwriter Glenn Montgomery, she steers clear of locking down motivations without ever having the characters unmotivated. Margaret and Joe speak with their actions. And their inaction. How they arrived at this point is less important than how they are going to grow through it. Their journey is both bleak and beautiful.

    A compelling and impeccably portrayed double portrait of loss, love and the desire for oblivion.

  • ★★★★ review by bwestcineaste on Letterboxd

    One of the best films of the year. Here's my interview with director Rebecca Daly:

  • ★★★½ review by J. on Letterboxd

    Gut-wrenching, uncomfortable and intense, but the acting and directing is superb: Rachel Griffiths cast against type and in a role she truly got to sink her teeth into, her performance is quiet and strong. It's a story of loss (and love, to a degree) – of seeking connections in unlikely places. The characters feel raw and real, which is part of the reason the film carries such a hard blow.

  • ★★★½ review by cinemagazine on Letterboxd

    "Rebecca Daly en coscenarist Glenn Montgomery gaven hun acteurs veel ruimte om hun rollen zelf in te kleuren; alsof ze zelf hun personages ook nog moeten leren kennen. Het resultaat is fascinerend acteerwerk van met name Griffiths, die achter minimale gezichtsuitdrukkingen een complete wereld aan verborgen emoties laat schuilgaan en die een gesloten en geheimzinnig personage als Margaret Brady toch iets warms en sympathieks weet mee te geven. Met Keoghan, die heel naturel speelt, heeft ze een breekbare chemie; Margaret en Joe tasten elkaar constant af en de aard van hun onderlinge relatie wisselt voortdurend."

  • ★★★½ review by Heather_Grrrl on Letterboxd

    Fairly dour but a good film. Reminds me a little if another Irish film, Snap. They definitely have a certain style but I can't put my finger on what exactly. Small but would work in BB and would be a decent D&D title. Always nice to have more films from women too. Plus, Brenda from Six Feet Under!

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