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A Wild Life

average rating is 4 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Mar 21, 2024

Film Reviews
A Wild Life
Directed by:
Marie-Andrée Lemaire
Written by:
Zachary Goldman
Robert Goodman, Raphael J. Bishop

Sometimes it is the most simple things that have the most magical of healing properties. Nature,

and time spent in it, be it swathes of rolling green grass, dense woodland, or even the open water or vast expanses of desert plaines, can soothe both the mind and the soul, putting life in perspective and making all our troubles that seemed so overwhelming before dissipate. The company of people, those whom you are able to form a deep connection with can also heal the mind and soul, letting us know that there are those that understand us out there. ‘A Wild Life’ portrays both those things, and though perhaps a little surface level, it is nonetheless beautiful and heartwarming to see the impact both have throughout the film.


‘A Wild Life’ establishes itself as a meditative, reflective film from the outset, with a score that immediately comes across as fitting the mould of thought-provoking and contemplative, while the opening shot is of leaves in a stream, as the water gently washes over them. It is a film about the virtue of life, and living life in nature and with people you connect to, but it is also a film about grief and sadness, and how individual’s move past those things.


This is especially true of the old man, Chester (who is played by Robert Goodman with a weary charm and bluntness about him), who we first meet as he looks across a beautiful vista across a lake and brings a gun to his head. Chester has lost purpose in his life and feels as though he lacks any reason to continue with it, and so, with his wife having given in to ‘sadness’, he feels it is his time now to commit suicide. It’s chastening seeing a man having lost hope prepared to give his life away, but his attempted suicide is interrupted when the eager young boy scout Arthur (played by Raphael J. Bishop) comes stumbling into the picture pleading for help.


Arthur has become separated from his scout group, and, having injured his knee, seeks the help of Chester to both strap him up and help him find his way. At first Chester is bemused and cold, though across the film he becomes tender and it appears as though he has rediscovered his joy for life once again. As Chester and Arthur sing camp songs and wear their white vests as they clamber through the wilderness we see not a young boy and an old man, but two young boys, both full of adventure and spirit for life, as Arthur, and the woodland that surrounds the two of them, have helped Chester rediscover his spark.


Marie-Andrée Lemaire directs the film beautifully, and it is aesthetically beautiful, picking up on the little intricacies of the woods and using the natural lighting, and how it reflects off water, to the film’s advantage. The script, written by Zachary Goldman, is at times a little too obvious, but whilst it perhaps doesn’t go far enough in terms of nuance with its themes, it is nonetheless solid executing its simplicity very well.


‘A Wild Life’ is a life-affirming film, one which maybe doesn’t truly push the boundaries, but is nonetheless joyous to watch, and a reminder that life is much like its title suggests.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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