It's death by a thousand cuts for the marriage at the heart of "Wildfire," actor Paul Dano's directorial debut.

The trailer for the movie, based on Richard Ford's novel of the same name, centers on housewife Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) and her golf pro husband Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal). They live with their teen song in a small town in 1960s Montana. After Jerry loses his job and sense of purpose, he joins the ranks fighting a nearby forest fire — leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly alone, Jeannette is forced to make tough choices as she struggles to stay above water.

The movie got rapturous reviews when it played at the Sundance Film Festival, an impressive feat for first-time director Dano (who co-wrote the script with partner Zoe Kazan).

"I was really moved by [Ford's book], and I think something that he captured that I loved was the feeling that family is one of the greatest loves of our life," he told the Sundance audience. "And because of that, it's also one of the greatest sources of struggle and possibly pain in our life, and it's because of love that we experience that pain. And so the compassion towards these sort of flawed parents, and witnessing that through the kid's eyes, spoke to me."

"Wildlife" opens in theaters October 19.