Review: Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals Movie Poster
“When you love someone you have to be careful with it, you might never get it again.”

Gone Girl was one of my favorite movies of 2014. You might be asking me why. Although, if you’ve seen it I don’t know why you would be wondering such a thing. I love the way it was filmed. I loved the story. I loved how it made you wonder and feel unsettled. I loved the quietness of it all. The simplicity intertwined with the complexity of the story.

So, why am I starting out a review of Nocturnal Animals talking about Gone Girl? There are a few reasons, and none of them involve the story being the same. It’s all in the way the movie was filmed. There’s something beautiful about a film that has such an extravagant, mesmerizing story but is filmed with such simplicity that you get tangled up in it almost without realizing. Tom Ford made a beautiful film with Nocturnal Animals, and if you’re not paying attention you might miss how great it is.

Any Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal take the lead roles alongside Armie Hammer and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Isla Fisher is there in a ‘blink and you might miss it’ kind of role. Amy stars as Susan Morrow, a divorced art gallery owner who receives a manuscript of a novel written by her ex-husband Edward Sheffield, Gyllenhaal. She is now married to Hutton Marrow, Hammer. While reading the novel, Susan notices that what her ex-husband is writing may not be a fictional story he’s made up in his head, but rather a revenge tale with parallels to real life.

The film goes back and forth between the resent, which focuses mainly on Susan reading the novel and some aspects of what her life is now, to the past when Susan and Edward were married and how their marriage fell apart and how she met Hutton, to the novel playing out in Susan’s imagination as she reads. You start to realize through the flashbacks and in the novel some things from real life events have similarities to events Edward has written about. Susan worries this novel isn’t only a fictional story, but maybe a warning sign from her ex-husband, or a revenge tale he has made up in his head.

I can’t write any more on this film, giving away any details may spoil the story. But I can one hundred percent say I was impressed by this movie. Tom Ford paid immaculate attention to detail and made a compelling story beautiful on screen. Adams is beautifully simple, and Taylor-Johnson has a small, but important role. For me, Gyllenhaal stole the show completely. He gave one of his best performances to date in my personal opinion, and I believe he deserves a standing ovation.

Do yourself a favor and see this film. If it’s not playing at a local theater, find it. It’s worth the time and money.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Trailer: Nocturnal Animals

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