American Tyler (Alia Shawkat), who has a secret crush on her. So when a classical musician called Jim (Fra Fee) enters the picture, Tyler tries to disrupt the romance. The original novel by English writer Emma Jane Unsworth was set in Manchester. This adaptation (also by Unsworth) moves to Dublin, with post-production in Adelaide and an Australian director, Sophie Hyde, “it’s a bit of a bastardy production”, according to reviewer Paul Byrnes.
“It’s a tribute to Sophie Hyde’s work that these two gals, with tinkling white wine glasses and cackling laughter, become fully engaging women on screen. I don’t remember any movie where two actors have had to perform so many scenes one-handed, but both Shawkat and Grainger give it their all.
Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat in Animals. Credit:Sydney Film Festival
The friendship of Laura and Tyler is deep and soulful, even if their early scenes are burdened with over-written “witty” dialogue. Tyler, so lonely and needy, is achingly human. Laura’s warm and funny Irish family welcomes the sharp-tongued Tyler, who’s never as generous in return. She can’t be: for her, families are a curse from which you escape, like marriage and the suburbs.