The Reel Review


Soon after his sudden, unexpected return to a small, tight-knit Irish fishing village, a young man is charged with a serious crime. When his mother tells authorities a lie to protect him, it tears apart both the community and her own family, in this psychological drama starring Emily Watson and Paul Mescal (Normal People).

Paul Mescal and Emily Watson in God’s Creatures

Watson’s strong, powerful performance is the primary reason to see this dark, gritty film which explores the lengths a parent will go to protect their child, even when the parent strongly suspects that child has done something really bad. Despite a not-so-original story and an underutilized Mescal as the one-dimensional, prodigal son, Aisling Franciosi (Game of Thrones, The Nightingale) also manages to standout as the accuser who finds herself shunned by the community. As a result, Watson’s Aileen is wracked with guilt over her lie.

Emily Watson and Paul Mescal in God’s Creatures

A bleak score and windswept cinematography of the coastal oyster farms of northwestern Ireland give an added somberness to the story from directors Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer, which, despite being a very slow burn, is a subtle yet stinging indictment of the undercurrent of violence against women, and the men who close ranks to protect their own.


• Emily Watson has received two Oscar nominations – one for 1996’s Breaking the Waves and another in 1998 for Hilary and Jackie.

• Irish-born Aisling Franciosi won an AACTA Best Actress award for her performance in 2019’s The Nightingale, and also appeared as Lyanna Stark in a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones.

God’s Creatures was filmed on location in County Donegal, Ireland.


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