Rare Beasts, the directorial debut from the award-winning actress Billie Piper is the dark, funny, failed love story of Mandy and Pete.
Piper’s single mum Mandy is chaotic, confrontational and vulnerable. But so are her estranged parents (David Thewlis, Kerry Fox) and needy new partner (Leo Bill). The fallout from these ever-colliding characters is combustible – this is Piper’s scorched-earth exploration of self-worth in a time of reclaimed feminism and contentious politics. The results are both hilarious and grim, often at the same time, puncturing the oft-believed preconception that we can ‘have it all’.
Billie Piper has long established herself as one of our more daring and unpredictable actors, so it’s no surprise that her striking first feature as writer-director embodies these qualities. The minefield of contemporary careers and relationships has rarely been depicted with such frankness, intimacy and originality.