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Carey Mulligan Brilliantly Defended ‘Wildlife’ After Moviegoer Slammed Her Character During NYFF Q&A

Mulligan and her director, Paul Dano, were put in an awkward position after an audience member decided to criticize the film instead of asking a question.

Paul Dano, Carey Mulligan and Jake GyllenhaalNew York Film Festival Premiere Afterparty of "Wildlife" with Casa Noble Tequila, USA - 30 Sep 2018

Paul Dano, Carey Mulligan, and Jake Gyllenhaal

Kristina Bumphrey/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock

Wildlife” star Carey Mulligan and filmmaker Paul Dano were forced to defend their film during an awkward moment at the film’s New York Film Festival post-screening Q&A session. Following the October 1 screening, a man in the audience was selected to ask a question but instead criticized the movie directly to Mulligan and Dano. The male audience member singled out Mulligan’s character, Jeanette Brinson, as a problem in the movie.

The audience member addressed Mulligan and criticized her character for being “completely reprehensible” and “unsympathetic.” Mulligan’s Jeanette is a 1960s housewife whose life spirals after her husband, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, leaves home to fight wildfires in the mountains of Montana. Mulligan responded to the criticism by addressing how new it still is for audiences to see female characters as messy as Jeanette since there are so few of them ever represented.

Read More: ‘Scarface’ Reunion: Audience Erupts in Boos As Michelle Pfeiffer Asked Question About Her Weight — Tribeca

“We’re all too used to only seeing women behaving really well [in movies],” Mulligan said. “When we see them out of control or struggling it doesn’t ring true because of everything we’ve been brought up to understand that women are always perfect and can do anything. That’s an unrealistic expectation of a woman. Seeing real humanity on-screen can be really jarring from a female perspective.”

Mulligan’s response received a big applause from the audience. The actress’ performance in “Wildlife” has received acclaim since the film’s premiere at Sundance earlier this year. Critics have praised Mulligan for tackling an unlikeable character and getting the viewer to understand the emotional truth behind her behavior. Dano was equally supportive during the NYFF discussion, responding to the criticism by saying he sympathizes with the mother and her struggle for identity.

The unfortunate Q&A moment at NYFF arrived several months after the Tribeca Film Festival made headlines during a panel conversation at the 35th anniversary screening of “Scarface.” The panel moderator, Jesse Kornbluth, was criticized after asking Michelle Pfieffer a question about how much she weighed during filming.

IFC Films opens “Wildlife” in select theaters October 19.

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