FILM REVIEW: God’s Creatures starring Paul Mescal & Emily Watson

By Aline Mahrud


2023 has already been an incredible year for Paul Mescal with a Best Actor Olivier and Oscar nomination under his belt, although film God’s Creatures is very much for the Mescal completists.

  • Read on for reasons including how the best scene is where Mescal’s character is confronted by a woman in a line-up at a wake

Mescal won a Best TV/Film Actor monsta in 2020 for his sensitive portrayal of a student struggling with his mental health in Normal People and is here cast against type as a son who returns home to a small remote Irish fishing village after a lengthy unexplained absence in Australia.

His character reveals itself slowly throughout this atmospheric film as his mother Aileen, played by the Oscar-nominated Emily Watson, steals to help her son Brian’s oyster trap venture and later lies to protect him when a former girlfriend makes a sexual assault complaint him.

Aileen works at an oyster processing plant with Brian’s former girlfriend Sarah (a hugely impressive Aisling Franciosi from TV’s The Fall) and the soundtrack does a great job here in ratcheting up the tension of small town village life working a monotonous production line in a claustrophobic environment.

Mescal’s most recent roles – here and in A Streetcar Named Desire now in the West End at the Phoenix Theatre – are darker than his work in both Normal People and film Aftersun and what’s impressive here is how quietly menacing and unsettling he plays Brian.

The most interesting relationship in this film however is between Watson’s character and co-worker and former friend Sarah played by Franciosi who accuses her son of sexual assault and the fallout from that.

Hugely excruciating is scene at a wake when Sarah confronts Brian in a line-up where guests are expected to express their condolences.

There’s a great deal that’s unspoken in Shane Crowley’s screenplay and directors Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer have created an atmospheric watch in a completely believable world but we would have liked Aileen’s betrayal of Sarah and the aftermath of that to have been more fully explored.

Watch this film however to appreciate the growth of Mescal into 1 of Ireland’s finest young actors but don’t expect to be fully satisfield by this interesting yet ultimately frustrating film that appears to neglect the more compelling story as it unravels.

  • Main picture via Facebook courtesy God’s Creatures Tickets
  • Have you seen any other Paul Mescal shows or films? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
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