Trigger warning, I reckon.
In my current quest to hype as many Irish things as possible, this trailer hit differently. God’s Creatures tells the story of an Irish mother (Emily Watson), whose sense of morality is put to the ultimate test when that kind of credible accusations come circling around her precious son (Paul Mescal), all set in one of those idyllic fishing towns that, six out of ten times, end up being portals to hell. Rounding out the cast is the fantastic Aisling Franciosi (The Nightingale and The Fall) as the young woman who opens the Pandora’s box that is denouncing a man in a small town.
Since its premiere at Cannes earlier this year, I’ve been looking forward to this film because it tackles the IED of an issue that is women’s complicity (particularly mothers) in the abusive or toxic behavior of men, something that becomes painfully open in majority Catholic countries. The ideology of abnegated motherhood and devotion towards male children is the cultural pitstop that, whether in Chile or Ireland, refuels men’s ingrained lack of accountability. This happens everywhere, but in Catholic culture, it is the sole character trait of its lone female protagonist, and in the trailer, there is a clever cut to a portrait of the Virgin Mary.
But it hit differently because it reminded me of a landmark rape case in Chile, also in a small town in a very similar-looking place, where the key piece of evidence was the cellphone of the now-sentenced perp. A cellphone that his mother had been tasked with destroying, a “lapse” in her judgment that I can’t stop thinking about. That sometimes these awful, patriarchal little towns can see someone, unintentionally on purpose, break with the cycles of their own oppression.
The trailer looks tense and indeed gothic, but without falling into the clichÃ©s of shooting stunning vistas of the Irish coast. I’m very much looking forward to seeing someone as charming as Paul Mescal playing that guy.
The movie is directed by Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer, who previously collaborated in the latter’s directorial debut, the critically lauded The Fits, based on a story and screenplay by producer Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly and Shane Crowley, both making their debuts in writing a feature film.
God’s Creatures premieres in select theatres on September 30th.