Star Rating:


Director: Sophie Hyde

Actors: Alia Shawkat, Holliday Grainger

Release Date: Friday 9th August 2019

Genre(s): Comedy, Drama

Running time: 109 minutes

Fantastic acting and a fascinating probe into modern living

Laura (Holliday Grainger) and Tyler (Alia Shawkiat, ‘Arrested Development’) are best friends and roommates in their late 20s to early 30s living life to the fullest. They spend night after night partying, drinking and engaging in general debauchery. But that all changes when Laura meets classical pianist Jim (Fra Fee, ‘Les Misérables’) and the two end up quickly talking about moving in together and even the ‘m-’ word. Tyler is none too happy about this and keeps pulling her friend back to their party-going lifestyle. Laura is left more confused than ever about what path she should take. And will she ever get the book she wants to write finished?

‘Animals’ provides a number of points of fascination for moviegoers, not least its exploration of feminism and friendship in the modern day. It contemplates how in this era when young people, and especially women, have more choices than ever before – to be with who they want to be, to live a ‘traditional’ life of love and marriage, or ‘rebellious’, ‘anti-confirmative’  lifestyle – they are more confused than ever about what they actually want.

The character of Jean (Amy Molloy), Laura’s sister, thus provides an interesting point of comparison in the way that she used to party like crazy with Laura and Tyler, but has since settled down, gotten married and had a child. As we learn though, she is unsure as to whether she made the right choice as she can’t shake the feeling of dissatisfaction.

Traversing through the city’s more high-class, artistic backdrops and night-time pub scenes, Dublin looks beguiling in ‘Animals’, and the costumes will give female audience members serious wardrobe goals. Grainger and Skiawat are both fabulous in the leading roles and the fun they’re having is so infectious that you find yourself loving going along with the ride.

Mind you, there are some blind spots in the story, for example, we never really find out what happened to Tyler’s family (particularly with her father), which could go the way of explaining why she is the way she is, as the acceptant attitude of Laura’s parents’ (played by the always delightful Pat Shortt and Olwen Fouéré) does for Laura.

Somewhere between ‘Withnail & I’ and ‘Dublin Oldschool’, ‘Animals’ won’t be everyone’s cup of tea because it’s quite stylised and doesn’t offer easy answers. It’s a coming-of-age story that demonstrates that you’re never finished coming-of-age, and offers intriguing conversation points about art, urbanity and modernity, as well as just feeling like a long, late-night party.