Movie Review: EO

Most humans love animals and find it easy to sympathize with them, which can make them very useful for filmmakers trying to get across certain themes that many would rather not discuss, as Polish writer / director Jerzy Skolimowski and his co-writer Ewa Piaskowska do to excellent and devastating effect in EO. The film follows the titular donkey (alternately portrayed by Ettore, Hola, Marietta, Mela, Rocco, and Tako) as he is shuffled from place to place at the whims of the humans around him, only occasionally getting to exert any agency over his destiny.

We first meet EO while he is part of a small circus act with Kasandra (Sandra Drzymalska), who shares a genuine bond with the animal and treats him with love and care. At one stop, the circus is met with animal rights protestors, who succeed in getting all of the circus’ creatures taken away by the government, separating the pair in one of the first scenes that indicates we might be about to go through an emotional wringer. From there, EO finds himself in a host of farms, homes, and towns where he is treated with various degrees of kindness, indifference, and cruelty, often in his most trying moments gazing off into the distance and thinking of his time with Kasandra.

There are many beautiful shots of the Polish countryside and happy moments watching the adorable EO trotting off to another destination in hopes of relocating Kasandra, but this isn’t a happy-go-lucky animal movie. As mentioned, EO is not always treated well, and this is juxtaposed with other images and avant-garde camera work highlighting our relationship with and mistreatment of nature to drive the real point home. This is a beautiful movie, with a main character that is impossible not to love, but also one that will completely shatter your heart. ★★★★★

not rated. contains violence, DISTURBING CONTENT, bloody images, and drug use.

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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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