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The Animal Kingdom

Le Règne Animal

Thomas Cailley | 2023 | 130 MINS
France | Subtitles
French Film Festival UK

Creature effects complement the more relatable drama of how a father and son adapt to a world of animal-human hybrids in Thomas Cailley's high-concept French thriller.

In Detail

A mysterious malady is sweeping France, unlocking something at a genetic level that causes people to transform into hybrid creatures. The mutations are slow and somewhat unpredictable: One person might sprout feathers which develop into wings, while another may grow scales. Through it all, 16-year-old Émile (Paul Kircher) and his father François (Romain Duris) are just trying to stay calm, which isn’t easy when the entire country is jittery and suspicious.

What is causing the mutations? Is it contagious? Can the creatures be trusted? A scar on Émile’s cheek, acquired during the early days of his mother’s infection, offers a hint of the risk.

This is a fantastic, magical movie, and it takes that familiar but exciting premise and explores it in a very nuanced way. The expected is in there, but only on the outskirts, surrounding the core story of how a single family is dealing with this epic global change.

The result is an incredibly emotional, uplifting, and well-made movie that will stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre.

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