Margaret (Rachel Griffiths) lives a determinedly quiet life in a nondescript corner of Dublin; middle-aged and divorced, she owns a second-hand store, with little social life save for solitary trips to the local swimming pool. Her self-imposed isolation ends when she receives a phone call from ex-husband Matt (Michael McElhattan) telling her the son she abandoned in infancy, now a teenager, has gone missing, news which coincides with her decision to give shelter to Joe (Barry Keoghan), a homeless boy she finds beaten up outside her house.
As Margaret’s relationship with Joe grows more intimate it becomes uncertain whether her attraction to the boy is that of a surrogate son or a potential lover. The second feature form Rebecca Daly (The Other Side of Sleep), Mammal is a tightly focused exploration of the troubling bond formed between two damaged people. (Notes by David O’Mahony.)