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We the Animals is a 2018 American coming-of-age drama film, directed by Jeremiah Zagar and written by Zagar and Dan Kitrosser, based on the novel of the same name by Justin Torres. The film marks Zagar's first narrative feature film. The film stars Evan Rosado, Raúl Castillo, Sheila Vand, Isaiah Kristian, and Josiah Gabriel.[2][3] It premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival[4] and was released on August 17, 2018, by The Orchard.[5]

We the Animals
We the Animals.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJeremiah Zagar
Produced by
  • Jeremy Yaches
  • Christina D. King
  • Andrew Goldman
  • Paul Mezey
Screenplay by
  • Jeremiah Zagar
  • Dan Kitrosser
Based onWe the Animals
by Justin Torres
Music byNick Zammuto
CinematographyZak Mulligan
Edited by
  • Keiko Deguchi
  • Brian A. Kates
Distributed byThe Orchard
Release date
  • January 20, 2018 (2018-01-20) (Sundance)
  • August 17, 2018 (2018-08-17) (United States)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$400,961[1]



Jonah grows up with rambunctious brothers in a working class mixed-race family in upstate New York, and he must contend with both his volatile father and his emerging sexuality.[6]


The film was shot on grainy 16mm film and includes colored pencil animated sequences.[7] The cinematographer, Zak Mulligan, said "there was a lot of effort to create [a] feeling of intimacy" and noted that much of the film was shot at child's-eye-height. The actors who played the brothers and parents lived together during production so they would feel like a real family.[8] The director, Jeremiah Zagar, involved the novel's author Justin Torres throughout the process, saying Torres "was on the set, and he read every draft of the script...He was even in the editing room".[9] The film was dedicated to the memory of Tim Hetherington.


  • Evan Rosado as Jonah
  • Raúl Castillo as Paps
  • Sheila Vand as Ma
  • Isaiah Kristian as Manny
  • Josiah Gabriel as Joel
  • Giovanni Pacciarelli as Dustin
  • Moe Isaac as Dustin's Grandpa
  • Michael Pemberton as Foreman George
  • Mickey Anthony as Clerk Kevin
  • Amelia Campbell as Woman in Van
  • Tom Malley as Old Man
  • Terry Holland as Televangelist Voice


Critics compared the film to Moonlight and Tree of Life and variously called it impressionistic, intimate, woozy, and evocative.[7] On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 74 reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Dreamlike and haunting, We the Animals approaches the coming-of-age odyssey with a uniquely documentarian eye."[10] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 83 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[11] The film won the Sundance NEXT Innovator Award[12] and was nominated for five 2019 Independent Spirit Awards.[13]


  1. ^ "We the Animals". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  2. ^ Rooney, David (January 20, 2018). "'We the Animals': Film Review | Sundance 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  3. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin; Lang, Brent (January 31, 2018). "Sundance Award Winner 'We the Animals' Sells to The Orchard (Exclusive)". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  4. ^ "We the Animals". Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  5. ^ Sharf, Zack (June 28, 2018). "'We the Animals' Exclusive Trailer: Jeremiah Zagar Channels 'The Tree of Life' and 'Moonlight' in Sundance Winner". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  6. ^ O'Malley, Sheila (August 17, 2018). "We the Animals".
  7. ^ a b Zagar, Jeremiah (August 17, 2018). "Film Review: 'We the Animals'". Variety.
  8. ^ Rosenzweig, Mathias (August 29, 2019). "Zak Mulligan On "We the Animals" Success". V Magazine.
  9. ^ "'We the Animals' Director Jeremiah Zagar Talks Open Collaboration and the Independent Spirit Awards". Film School Rejects. February 7, 2019.
  10. ^ "We the Amimals (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  11. ^ "We the Animals Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  12. ^ "NEXT Innovator Award — We the Animals". Sundance Institute.
  13. ^ "Film Independent Spirit Awards 2019 Nominees" (PDF) (Press release). Film Independent.

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