Director: Michael Pearce
Screenwriters: Michael Pearce

Institute History

  • 2018 Sundance Film Festival


Michael Pearce’s first feature premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was included in the prestigious Platform section. After also playing at several other major European festivals, Beast comes to the Sundance Film Festival for its U.S. premiere.

Moll is stuck. She’s isolated on Jersey, a tiny island in the English Channel. She’s also beset by her domineering mother and her history of mental fragility—not to mention the false pity it engenders. Freedom comes in an exceedingly unlikely form: local loner Pascal. Soon he and Moll are enmeshed in the sort of intense, overwhelming relationship that only two outcasts can forge. Nothing can stop them, not even Moll’s creeping suspicion that Pascal might be involved with a string of unspeakable crimes.

This stunningly assured debut from writer/director Pearce uses small, human moments to capture enormous truths. Pearce and the remarkable actress Jessie Buckley have created, in Moll, an unforgettable portrait of desperation and obsession. The remote setting and gloriously stark cinematography only add to the pervasive feeling of isolation. Moll is stuck. And we’re stuck with her.

— J.K.

Screening Details

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