Billie Piper is continuing her exceptional career trajectory with her directorial debut, Rare Beasts.
The briefest way to describe the upcoming film is to call it a love story — but that might give you the wrong impression. Rare Beasts follows a career-driven single mother falls in love with a man and embarks on a life-changing relationship. If you’re already cheering at the prospect of a new rom-com, you’re gonna want to keep reading. While Rare Beasts is definitely worth celebrating, it’s not quite the film it sounds like.
Piper’s film has all the makings of a romantic comedy, but despite the setup, takes the audience in unexpected directions. Do you know how they say real-life love is nothing like the movies? Rare Beasts is very much interested in the pessimistic discomfort of real life.
Below is an exclusive clip from the Rare Beasts, offering a first look at Piper’s turn in the director seat, plus a hint at the film’s approach to romance.
An Exclusive Look at Rare Beasts
Rare Beasts stars Billie Piper, the film’s writer/director, as Mandy, a single mother looking for love. Against all odds, she finds that in Leo Bill‘s Pete, the kind of man the plucky lovelorn heroine dates in the opening scenes of a romance movie before meeting her actual true love. Pete is both pompous and self-pitying – it’s hard to imagine things getting better from there, yet the relationship continues.
This brings us to the classic “meet the family” scene shown in the clip. You know the one — the new couple is whisked away to the charming family home. And sure, she might need to overcome whatever tensions arise along the way, but eventually, things magically fit into place. Right?
Apparently not. Rare Beasts doesn’t masquerade as the magical perfection of a rom-com. Mandy’s trip to Pete’s family home feels off from the start. Before they even enter the house, Pete admits how anxious he is and says that she looks the same. The couple doesn’t get a chance to really check in with each other, as the door swings open and we leave the lovely moonlight to enter the dimly lit household. Before Mandy even manages to greet everyone, the camera fixates on the massive stained wall in the entrance, which is almost a metaphor for how utterly un-charming the scene becomes. Throw in some small talk about eating disorders and a lot of very uncomfortable staring, and you have Rare Beasts, in all its hilariously dark glory.
The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2019 and has already received praise, particularly for Billie Piper’s clever filmmaking style and biting humor. The film’s unofficial release is just around the corner, so if you’re looking forward to the rest of Mandy’s deeply uncomfortable courtship, the wait is almost over.
Rare Beasts will be available in select theaters and on-demand on August 20, 2021. The film also stars Kerry Fox, Toby Woolf, David Thewlis, and Lily James.
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