Nocturnal Animals

Back in Mid-December my husband and I went to see “Nocturnal Animals”.

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I was very interested for the cast, especially Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams. I was also interested in seeing how Tom Ford followed up 2009’s “A Single Man”.  I really liked the film but it isn’t for everyone.

There aren’t a lot of film noirs now a days but I would put “Nocturnal Animals” in that category. The film is quite dark and has some very striking images. The film takes place in two storyline. In one storyline you have woman who lives in the Los Angeles art world named Susan (Amy Adams) who receives a novel from her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). In this storyline we see her life both in the present and in the past.

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The other storyline involves Edward’s novel, titled “Nocturnal Animals” and dedicated to Susan. The storyline in the novel is very dramatic but as the film unfolds you see how certain events in Susan and Edward’s life may (but we are never completely sure) have been tweaked and reworked into Edwards’s novel. Both storylines are really interesting and it’s kind of fun to work to connect the “real” world to the “fake” world of Edward’s novel.

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At first glance it seems that Susan is the protagonist of the film but by the end it could be argued that it is actually Edward is the protagonist. After all Gyllenhaal plays both Edward and the protagonist of Edward’s book named Tony. But then again the only reason we think of Gyllenhaal as Tony is because it’s Susan who reads the book, so maybe she is the protagonist after all, but that back and forth is part of what makes the movie fun. I also really enjoyed the ending, but then again I’m a big fan of open endings. Recently I was discussing open endings and our interpretations of them. I think the way each of us sees open endings really depends on our personality. If we like life not to be messy then we probably don’t like open endings but if we embrace the ambiguity of life we probably like them.

The performances were all great. I really liked Amy Adam’s in his particular role. She plays sweet characters so easily that I enjoy it whenever she does play somebody that has more of an edge.

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Jake Gyllenhaal thrives in dark movies and his dual roles here play right into his strengths. Among the supporting cast Michael Shannon is very good. Also very good is this year’s Golden Globe winner for Best Supporting Actor Aaron Taylor Johnson, I can see why he won his Golden Globe.

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I enjoyed seeing Laura Linney pop up  and she’s good in her role but I did feel that she was underused and also far too young to be playing Amy Adam’s mom (in real life Linney is only 10 years older than Adams).

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I enthusiastically recommend this movie. At this point it is probably difficult to find in theaters at this point but it’s definitely worth checking out if you like the cast, film noirs or psychological thrillers.

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Here is a description:

Justin Gomez and his sister, Terri, have never been close. Separated by nine years and distant in adulthood, Justin and Terri have little in common, except for the love of her three children. In the days before they embark on a road trip to visit the father that once abandoned them and their now deceased mother, both Terri and Justin are dealing with unexpected changes in their lives. Justin surprisingly realizes he might want more than a series of one night stands after a first date goes unexpectedly well. After a lifetime of being a strong type A personality, Terri is forced to confront the reality of the end of her marriage. As they hit the road, with Terri’s children in tow, they find themselves forced to rely on and confide in each other following a devastating event. Confronted with memories from the past and challenges from the present, Terri and Justin must dig deep and unearth the truth about themselves and their parents in order to build a new family based on their love for each other.

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