Rare Beasts Image

Rare Beasts

By Alan Ng | August 20, 2021

I previously described the word “refreshing” to describe Rare Beasts. It comes from the honesty of the characters and their dialogue. Something is freeing when people speak without inhibition and refuse to cower behind political correctness or politeness, for that matter. I love not having to guess what someone is thinking nor question motives. Mind you, it’s not that everyone lives in a sci-fi world. Instead, it’s a narrative device writer/director Piper employs to dive into the fears and insecurities of her characters and find the humanity within imperfect people… which is all of us.

This forced honesty is rife with comedy and done before in “mind-reading” films like What Women Want, but at the same time, Piper uses the gimmick in deeply insightful and personal ways. Some stand-out moments include Mandy and Pete’s first sexual encounter as Mandy reveals her insecurities about her body to Pete. Another tear-inducing moment involves Mandy’s father, Vic, speaking openly about his fears and failures to his dying ex-wife, Marion.

“…the acting is superb…”

Needless to say, the acting is superb from start to finish. Billie Piper fans will not be disappointed as she carries the emotional weight of the film. She constantly shifts between confident and insecure while barely keeping her composure. It would be easy to turn Pete into a caricature of the fundamentalist, religious, chauvinist male with a gimmick like this. Bill finds a tiny nugget of heart in Pete — oddly, I found it in his tentative prayer for Mandy’s mother.

If you’re a student of people like I am, Rare Beasts is a highly insightful textbook on the subject of love — not just romantic love, but love for our family and friendships. Piper’s film is listed as a comedy, but it goes way deeper than that. I love that it has something to say about life. In the end, I couldn’t help but wish we could speak to one another with complete honesty as the characters do here. Who wants to go first?

Rare Beasts (2021)

Directed and Written: Billie Piper

Starring: Billie Piper, Leo Bill, Kerry Fox, David Thewlis, Lily James, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

Rare Beasts Image

"…a highly insightful textbook on the subject of love — not just romantic love, but love for our family and friendships."

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