Rare Beasts

Rare Beasts

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In her unexpectedly ambitious directorial debut Rare Beasts, Billie Piper stars as the career-driven and fatigued but fiery Mandy, a single mother to a demanding son who falls in love with the charming, traditionalist Pete.

Piper has come a long way since escorting Dr Who around the universe. She is on fire as Mandy who is flawed but sympathetic and brilliantly funny. On a date with colleague Pete (Leo Bill), he asserts that they will be married in a year and Mandy ends the night vomiting in the street - patriarchy and visual humour are constant themes. The pair begin a relationship that toggles frantically between frustration and short bursts of joy.

The taut screenplay (with echoes of Fleabag) is carried by lightning-quick, knotty exchanges, and there's a heightened, jarring quality to the cinematography.