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We the Animals 2017

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Passion River Films, 154 Mt. Bethel Rd., Warren, NJ 07059; 732-321-0711
Produced by Public Record and Cinereach
Directed by Jeremiah Zagar
DVD, color, 88 min.



High School - General Adult
Abuse, Siblings, Family

Date Entered: 01/10/2019

Reviewed by Johnnie N. Gray, Director of Media Services, Christopher Newport University

Based on the novel of the same name, We the Animals follows three brothers as they experience the abuse of their mother at the hands of their father. The family struggles to make ends meet and the brothers are often left alone to entertain themselves. The mother attempts to keep her youngest, Jonah, close to her and shielded from the world. Although the brothers are close, Jonah exists in a world of his own, with secrets and desires different from his brothers.

Jonah escapes his world by writing and drawing in secret, beneath the bed that he and his brothers share. He hides his work in a hole in the mattress and when it is discovered, his world is turned upside down with uncertainty. This is a realistic portrayal of an American family as they struggle to stay together and survive.

Shot as though it could be a documentary, this powerful work is gut wrenching and raw. This film has won several awards including the Grand Jury Award at the L.A. Outfest and NEXT Innovator Award at the Sundance Film Festival.