The fantastic new nature documentary African Cats is a dual portrait of two kinds of motherhood, a pride of female lions raising their cubs in a group, and Sita, a single cheetah rearing her five cubs alone. Gorgeously filmed, the movie has riveting twin plots as the cheetah struggles to feed and protect her too-many offspring from relentless hungry predators, and the group of lions deals with Fang, the snaggletoothed male who protects them but steals the zebra they have jointly cornered and taken down. A rival male, Kali, who travels surrounded by his four glorious and resentful sons, wants to kill Fang and all the baby cubs Fang sired to impregnate each female lion in the pride himself. Be careful of the subtext A stranger will kill your father, marry your mother, and murder you and be amazed at the persistence of the notion that only the males of the species are hunters. Awesome as this movie is, it is not recommended for gay adults with abandonment issues or any children under the age of 22. Kids 14 and under will burst into sobs whenever one of the moms gets dinner and children 14+ will use their parents' credit cards to order an adorable baby cheetah over the internet.
The brutal tension is perfectly broken by moments of beauty (storms sweeping across Kenya's savannah) or humor (an ostrich scaring off a full-grown cheetah).