Attention queer fantasy film lovers rejoice: the sapphic teen werewolf love story of your dreams is here! “My Animal,” director Jacqueline Castel’s first feature film debut, premiered at Sundance Film Festival. The “sensual” film stars trans non-binary actor Bobbi Salvör Menuez and gay non-binary actor Amandla Stenberg.
Menuez plays Heather, a troubled teenager who lives with her werewolf father and her alcoholic human mother. Heather plays hockey as a goalie and, as it turns out, is also a werewolf. Stenberg plays Jonny, an equally troubled teenager who is in a toxic relationship with a boy and has a controlling father, who is also her figure skating partner. Jonny and Heather meet at the skating rink, and they grow more and more captivated by each other. We don’t want to spoil anything, but we *will* say there is a steamy queer sex scene that is absolutely worth the watch.
MY ANIMAL is for queer horror fans. Inspired by classic monster movies & 80s horror, it may capture the kind of allegory we’ve seen many times before but the story & character dynamics are compelling. Hypnotic images & intimacy between women is shot so artfully. #Sundance23 pic.twitter.com/tuzh7QPHEc
— Sara Clements (@mildredsfierce) January 26, 2023
Critics everywhere are infatuated, but it’s Stenberg and Menuez who initially fell in love with the story.
“It felt like the kind of queer teenage dreamscape that I wish I’d grown up with. It was the queer world that I had fantasized and dreamt about,” Stenberg told Hollywood Reporter.
“What was really exciting for me was these two very different archetypes of queer people who are in different stages of understanding their sexuality and their acceptance of it. And through the format of the werewolf metaphor, there’s a lot of rich territory to explore, how fraught with tension that relationship can be when you’re that age,” they added.
Menuez was drawn to the themes of the film, telling Women’s Wear Daily, “Things that resonated and were exciting for me was the realness of the relationships, and the way in which the story follows this world-expanding moment for this person when they’re falling in love for the first time and choosing to take risks for the first time and let someone else into their world and into their most vulnerable parts of themselves. Thinking about the transformative healing power of queer love and self-discovery — there’s just so many of those elements woven throughout.”
After the film’s success at Sundance, it was picked up by Paramount to be streamed later this year.
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