Teenager Heather, who battles the limiting influences in her Canadian tiny town, longs to leave her oppressive family structure. Her mother Patti (Heidi von Palleske), a lifelong alcoholic, has an impact on the dynamics of the entire family. The hockey team Heather wants to play on but is unable to due to her gender is another. She leads a routine but oppressive life, so it seems sense that she would be drawn to the seductive and attractive figure skater Jonny (Amandla Stenberg). Heather has to control her wild tendencies as their connection develops. But it becomes harder for her to do so the closer she gets to Jonny.
Even though Heather's solitude stems from her werewolf identity, Matthews' screenplay provides few opportunities to explore this aspect of Heather, save from the few occasions when she shackles herself to the bed. The only time a furious Heather lets go and truly transforms is at the movie's conclusion. Castel's film sometimes suffers from slow pacing due to the little opportunity to see Heather's other side, making the viewing experience all about anticipation and seldom rewards.
Given the limitations of the writing, My Animal comes off more as a compelling addition to a well-established genre than a good LGBT teen coming-of-age story. But this restriction also gives Menuez and Stenberg a fantastic chance to control the camera. Their chemical chemistry is opulent and out of this world. If anything, it's one of the features of this unbalanced film that is sure to keep audiences interested in the plot.
My Animal is a mixed bag of tremendous technical accomplishments and awkward genre merging, an uneven debut that works better as a queer teen romance than a genre picture. Stenberg and Menuez have outstanding performances in the movie. However, the early hopes for a story about a released werewolf vanish faster than they can even begin to take flight. Castel's debut novel features a seductive and sensual romance that is confident in her vision and enthralled with both style and emotional appeal. However, a watching experience that is mostly potential and rarely executed stems from the failure to commit to balance.
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