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The romantic comedy genre is one of longest lived and most popular. It has been paid homage to, spoofed, and trivialized. Rom coms are known worldwide and are easily recognizable. Then there are movies like Billie Piper’s Rare Beasts. Written and directed by Piper, the movie is billed as an anti rom com. Rare Beasts is about Mandy, a single mother looking to find love. When she thinks she meets the right person, she has to reexamine what she wants.
Piper is amazing in the lead role. Mandy is a chaotic, engaging, and intriguing character. She (literally) bares her insecurities and is impossible to look away from. The character goes through a series of emotions. Piper’s impressive performance makes Mandy relatable instead of confusing.
Peter played by Leo Bill is equally interesting, even if he lacks the same depth. Mandy’s love interest is a bitter and jaded man. He constantly puts down women and expects the worst from the entire gender. This makes him a difficult character for the audience to root for.
This may be the film’s greatest issue. It is hard to want the couple to succeed. The verbal sparring is witty and provides some of the movie’s best moments. While it is clear they are not right for each other, they enjoy each other’s company. In any other rom com, they are the couple the audience is supposed to root for. Still, it is hard to not end up wanting the best for just Mandy instead of the couple.
Piper’s writing and direction is beautifully chaotic. This frenzied camera work and soundtrack are like a glimpse into Mandy’s mind. The story tries to pack a lot into is relatively short run time adding to the wildness of the story. While noticeable, nothing ever ruins the enjoyment of the film. Rare Beasts is a great character study that shows off Billie Piper’s many talents.
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