We the Animals
In a chaotic home, a boy fumbles toward maturity.
“Every once in a while a movie grabs you, unsuspecting, and hustles its way into your heart,” said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. We the Animals, an “exquisite” coming-of-age tale, does just that: Sun-dappled and impressionistic, it offers “a tumbling evocation of a volatile family” as seen through the eyes of its youngest member, a 10-year-old boy “played to perfection” by newcomer Evan Rosado. At first, Jonah is almost indistinguishable from his brothers. They’re a shirtless tangle of boyhood roughhousing, piling together into bed, and running wild through their working-class town, said Sheila O’Malley in RogerEbert.com. They’re also weathering the extreme unpredictability of the relationship between their Puerto Rican father and Italian-American mother, which “whipsaws between rage and tenderness.” Amid the chaos, Jonah gradually develops a sense of his individual self: He scribbles illustrations in his notebook, processing the challenges he faces, and experiences his first same-sex crush. Jonah is too young for the movie to show how he comes to grips with his sexuality, said Alex Barasch in Slate.com. “But maybe that’s part of the point—to depict a young life in which, for better or worse, it’s unclear what comes next.”
Sanja Bucko, Oscilloscope Laboratories, The Orchard ■