A teenage boy must deal with his mother's complicated response after his father temporarily abandons them to take a menial and dangerous job.


Paul Dano


Paul Dano (screenplay by), Zoe Kazan (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
2,248 ( 544)
6 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Ed Oxenbould ... Joe Brinson
Jake Gyllenhaal ... Jerry Brinson
Carey Mulligan ... Jeanette Brinson
Travis W Bruyer ... Forester (as Travis Bruyer)
Zoe Margaret Colletti ... Ruth-Ann
Tom Huston Orr Tom Huston Orr ... Mr. Cartwright
Bill Camp ... Warren Miller
Darryl Cox ... Clarence Snow
Ginger Gilmartin ... Receptionist
Michael Gibbons ... Coach
Mollie Milligan ... Esther
John Walpole ... Photographer
J. Alan Davidson ... Teacher
Jennifer Rogers Jennifer Rogers ... Female Employee
Richard L. Olsen ... Older Policeman (as Richard Olson)


Set in 1950s Montana, "Wildlife" shows and tells the drama and angst that a teenage boy, Joe, goes through, witnessing both his parents split up in his presence. His father, Jerry, loses his job. And though he was offered his job back, he refuses to take it back because he "won't work for those kind of people anymore". So instead, he takes a job fighting a forest fire, which his wife, Jeanette, is dead set against, both for safety reasons, and because she's convinced that he will be unfaithful while away. But he leaves anyway. And yet, without anything happening to him, or any evidence of hanky-panky on his part, she acts the way one would expect her to act had he perished in the fire, or if she had found out that he had been unfaithful while away. This fact causes Joe to acquire uneasy feelings toward his mother. His father does return however. But the three are no happier for it, as Jeanette has taken up with a new significant other in her life. And Jerry reacts furiously against ...

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material including a sexual situation, brief strong language, and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Paul Dano and Jake Gyllenhaal previously co-starred in Prisoners (2013) and Okja (2017). See more »


At 1:05:47, when Jeanette is standing near Joe, her lipstick is faded. At 1:05:57, when she turns around to put her arms in the coat, It's dark again. See more »


Jeanette Brinson: Well, I won't be this age forever, so don't get used to it.
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References BUtterfield 8 (1960) See more »


Written by David Lang
Performed by The City of Tomorrow
Courtesy of Parma Recordings
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User Reviews

A confident and well-made directorial debut that's unfortunately pretty unmemorable.
18 November 2018 | by Pjtaylor-96-138044See all my reviews

'Wildlife (2018)' is well made in every way, with its fantastic performances combining with its restrained but assured direction and solid but somewhat unremarkable script to paint a realistic portrait of a failing family seen through the slightly immature yet more world-weary than he's given credit for young lead. The piece isn't necessarily all that powerful, though, and is, sadly, pretty unmemorable, to boot. It's a bit of a strange case because I was invested in the story, characters and overall world right from the off, always involved in its twists and turns and feeling as though I was participating in its narrative (in the sense that I wasn't spoon-fed everything), but I literally forgot I had even seen the feature not two hours after getting home from the cinema, only remembering after being reminded what it was I'd just watched, which doesn't bode well for its overall lasting impact. It also marks it, perhaps, as an experience more adept at setting up a confident new directorial talent than anything else, one rife with opportunity for its actors to impressively stretch their 'acting muscles' and for its plot to portray a more nuanced view of its core players than we usually see in typical 'Hollywood' fare. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on how much it connects with you, and I'd easily reccomended giving it a watch at least once. 6/10

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

1 January 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Wildlife See more »

Filming Locations:

Livingston, Montana, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$104,589, 21 October 2018

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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