A close-knit Irish community is torn apart by a lie in the new psychological drama film God’s Creatures. Emily Watson stars as Aileen O’Hara, a mother who protects her son from sexual assault accusations by lying on his behalf.
“He’s charged with sexual assault, and she gives him an alibi,” Watson tells ABC Audio. “And that then spirals out of control, in terms of destroying not just their lives and the victim, but the community around them starts to fracture.”
Normal People breakout Paul Mescal plays Aileen’s son Brian, acting in a role outside of his comfort zone. That, he says, is one of the reasons he joined the project.
“It’s the first time I’ve had to put something into practice in terms of my idea of what acting is,” Mescal says. “It’s not about being politically or morally aligned with everybody that you play.”
Aisling Franciosi plays Sarah, the young woman Brian assaults. She says she felt “really passionate” about not only her role, but the cruel truth of the film.
“Something that feels comfortable and familiar and the status quo – it's uncomfortable to change that,” Franciosi says. “So, we’re just so much more likely to shut out whoever is making us look at that and just leave them to deal with the repercussions of it all.”
Mescal agrees, noting the film dares people to assess their own lives.
It is “actually interrogating, and holding a mirror up, and being like, ‘This is your community. This is the behavior that your community is exhibiting,’” Mescal says. “And, ultimately, we’re doing a disservice to young women, but we’re also doing a disservice to young men, because we’re not cultivating an environment where change is possible.”
God’s Creatures premieres in theaters Friday.