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 Ashley on Letterboxd

    in unsurprising news, barry keoghan continues to break my heart without even trying

  • ★★★★ review by OliviaDay on Letterboxd

    Beautifully shot 

    Brilliantly acted 

    Superbly directed 

    And fantastic writing 

    Don't let this one fly under the radar.

  • ★★★½ review by Bryce Thomas-Hoogland on Letterboxd

    Barry Keoghan, y'all!!

    Watch this for him and Rachel Griffiths.

  • ★★★½ review by OxfordComma on Letterboxd

    Quiet and intense film.

    I watched this because a favorite actor of mine, Michael McElhatton, is in it, but the whole movie was well worth my time, yours too.

    The three leads are all equally excellent, which is fortunate, because I think in a film where the director is not afraid to let the camera linger more than usual, you need really good actors who can get across the right intensity of feeling without it looking like they're over-emoting, or worse, that there's nothing there to begin with.

    Not gonna lie, parts of this are disturbing, but I think I'll see what else Rebecca Daly has made, because this was that good.

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