All the Little Animals

Stars:  Christian Bale, John Hurt, Daniel Benzali

A simple minded young man named Bobby (Christian Bale) runs away from his rich, brutal stepfather after the death of his mother.

Known only as “The Fat”, the hated stepfather (Daniel Benzali) tries desperately to force Bobby to sign papers that would allow the Fat to take over the family store, a posh spot in London. He threatens Bobby by saying he’ll place Bobby in a mental hospital. To escape the torment, Bobby hitches rides all the way to the Cornwall coast where perchance he comes upon a strange man called Mr. Sommers (the ever wonderful John Hurt).

Mr. Sommers roams the roadways looking for dead animals that have been run over by lunatic speeding motorists, the kind of people he wildly rants about as uncaring and viscous. It is his professional and one that he takes most seriously, burying each little animal in a tidy grave that he digs with his ever-present shovel.

An unlikely friendship develops between the two of them, each holding on to their own secrets, until one day, Bobby reveals his to Mr. Sommers.

This is a strange little film, indeed. But it’s a good character study in a lovely setting amidst country fields that we see the two men develop a friendship, based on trust and good will, something each must strive greatly for due to their tortured backgrounds.

Bale does a wonderful job as the dimwitted Bobby and John Hurt is terrific as the cranky old man who comes to love Bobby as his own son.

Lotta says: “All the Little Animals” is good drama and it certainly has enough conflict with the super mean The Fat.