Movie Review: GOD’S CREATURES (2022): Emily Watson Does a Great Job in a Dark, Yet Fascinating Film


Review of God’s Creatures

God’s Creatures (2022) Film Exama film realized by Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmerwritten by Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly and Shane Crowley and featuring Emily Watson, Paul Mescal, Aisling Franciosi, Marion O’Dwyer, Toni O’Rourke, Brendan McCormack, Isabelle Connelly, John Burk, Steve Gunn, Sarah Kinlen, Lea Minto, Philip O’Sullivan and Enda Oates.

When Emily Watson earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her incredible, commanding performance in Lars von Trier’s tremendous 1996 masterpiece, Break the waves, she has proven herself to be a force to be faced. It’s no surprise that even after decades of tremendous performances, Watson returns to the screen in the very dark but intriguing new film, God’s Creatures, with its best screen work in years. Watson delivers some of the most complex layered performance it has ever given.


Watson plays an Irish working-class mother named Aileen O’Hara whose son Brian O’Hara (the sturdy Paul Mescal) returns home after several long years abroad in Australia. Brian seems to have a mysterious past as the film introduces his character to audiences. Brian’s sister Erin (Toni O’Rourke) has a new baby that Aileen adores, but Aileen also loves her middle-aged oldest son more than she probably should given that he abandoned his very family. early.

Brian intends to work in his family’s oyster business, but he’ll have to walk on eggshells to avoid ruffling the feathers of some family members trying to earn a living again. Brian also tries to rekindle a relationship with an old flame who hangs out at the local bar and sings beautifully named Sarah (a well-chosen Aisling Franciosi). She doesn’t seem too interested in Brian anymore but that doesn’t stop her from trying to make her way in his life.

God’s Creatures is raw and authentic in its display of the events depicted in the film. A character cuts deep into a fish that is displayed to the viewer at one point and this symbolism could be a visual representation of how the film goes deep into the lives of the characters it presents to the viewer. This new movie doesn’t excuse the way Aileen tries to protect her son from harm when she tells a lie on his behalf halfway through the movie. Well, actually, that gives her an excuse: she loves her son unconditionally but, maybe, it’s time that love was refocused somewhere else because Brian isn’t worthy of the love she has for him. . Where is he?

Directors Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer crafted a very disturbing film, but it’s a film made with efficiency. The film shows that Sarah has become very frightened by her experiences with Brian. Sarah doesn’t come to work for days after a key story event. Aileen is forced to take sides and of course chooses her son’s side. But, Sarah is fired from her job due to her lack of communication regarding time off from work. Sarah is a complex character here and the movie definitely lets the character develop as the one we really feel, especially when she’s told to leave the bar she’s been frequenting for many years.

When assault charges are brought against Brian, the case is thrown out of court thanks to Aileen’s lie that she was there with her son when the alleged attack took place. Watson convinces the audience that she is doing the right thing because Aileen initially thinks she is doing the right thing but, alas, it is much more complicated than that.

For everyone God’s Creatures done well, the film also moves at a snail’s pace for much of the start of the frame. Things happen that help develop the characters but do little to advance the plot. It’s not until we get much later into the movie that the plot really gels the way it should.

That being said, Watson carries the weight of the film on his shoulders. This performance is a fine companion to his early work in Break the waves where she embodies a naive woman who sacrifices herself for the well-being of her husband. In the new film, she stops the self-sacrificing behavior at some point due to the complexity of the situation she finds herself in. Watson emerges with her strongest character in years because she brings more to the character than was probably even on the screenplay page. Aileen cannot stand the deception presented to her and is a character of integrity regardless of the behavior she displays, which may suggest otherwise in the early part of the film.

God’s Creatures is not an easy movie to watch. It’s too dark at times and very realistic, even at the cost of sacrificing some of the character development it works so hard to achieve by tossing some key characters to the side towards the end of the movie. Still, although Watson emerges as an actress who is never afraid to take risks and those risks she takes in the new film are well worth watching.

Evaluation: seven/ten

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