Animals is Sophie Hyde’s comedy drama adaptation of Emma Jane Unsworth’s novel of the same name from 2014. It follows two best friends, Laura and Tyler, whose lifestyle mainly involves partying hard while Laura struggles with her dream of being a writer.
While Laura has spent 10 years struggling to write a word of a novel she has spent most of her time with Tyler, her american flatmate and best friend, who encourages their wild partying and free spirited lifestyle. So when Laura meets Jim and begins to develop an actual relationship Tyler begins to feel threatened, while the partying takes a toll on her relationship. The heart of Animals is relationship between Laura and Tyler, and how that relationship changes as the two change and grow.
And that wouldn’t work without two incredible performances. Holliday Grainger has been working for a long time, but with her performance as Laura it really feels as though it has the potential to catapult her to the big time. She is phenomenal in the film as this conflicted person throughout her messy friendship with Tyler. Alia Shawkat as Tyler is unsurprising superb alongside her. Tyler is such a larger than life character, but Shawkat keeps her grounded and realistic throughout. Most importantly the two are exceptional together, electric everytime they’re on screen together.
Not only do they do a wonderful job with this rich emotional drama surrounding the friendship between the pair, but they deliver the comedy in the film fantastically and are absolutely hilarious. With Emma Jane Unsworth’s razor sharp script behind them the film is genuinely funny, and the comedic talents of the two leads is utilised perfectly.
As well as Grainger the other name that stands out to watch in the future for me was Sophie Hyde. Hyde’s direction is fantastic and striking, particularly when coupled with the cinematography of Bryan Mason, who also edited the film. Visually Animals is an absolute feast, one that makes it a must for the cinema.
Animals was a real surprise for me. I didn’t expect the film to be such a touching and moving film, whilst never losing the comedy and entertainment that the trailers promised. So much of Animals is fantastic and it is one of the best of the year so far, both as a comedy and a drama.