Do You Ever Feel Like Your Life Has Turned into Something You Never Intended?: Nocturnal Animals (2016)


Do you ever feel like your life has turned into something you never intended?

So when the trailer first aired I remember watching it and it catching my interest as they marketed it as a film noir/thriller.

Oh?

We added it at the library and a patron immediately checked it out. When he brought it back I asked him what he thought and he told me he did not like it. He thought it was a bomb and a waste of time never to be brought back again.

I heard what he said, but was still curious and wanted to watch it.

I should’ve listened.

This film was not good.

I really wanted to stop watching it but it was like when you see the police or ambulances on the side if the road, you can’t stop yourself from looking as a part of you just has to know.

So the film is told in three ways: Present, Novel, and Flashbacks. It is extremely artsy and just brimming over the top full of symbolism. I’m just going to skip it as it would take forever to discuss all the choices and what they mean in accordance to the film.

It has some extremely weird choices. The whole beginning is like 15 mins of naked fat women dancing. Seriously, no one needs to be that “artistic”. Mostly the thoughts going through my head in this film were “what am I watching?” “Why am I wasting my time on this?”

Why am I watching it.

Present:

So we start with Susan Morrow (Amy Adams). She is not happy with her life.

Years ago she married the man she loved, childhood friend Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal), but left him when he didn’t provide the stability her upper class debutante background needed.

She left him for the handsome, charming, ambitious Hutton Morrow (yuck, Armie Hammer). I hate Armie Hammer as an actor, not person-I mean I don’t even know him. No matter the role I just find him insufferable and want to punch his smarmy face.

Anyways, Hutton seemed perfect-but that did not last.

Ugh

Their relationship is in tatters as he is always gone on “business”, they are going broke and have to sell their art collection, and yes he is cheating on her. Susan spends her days alone, lonely, bored, and unhappy. She has always regretted her choice to leave Edward, but even more now when she sees how badly she has chosen.

She has been thinking of Edward a lot lately, and speak of the devil-he finally reaches out to her after all these years. He was trying to write a book back when they were together, and he finally has finished one-one that will be published in a few months. He sends a proof to Susan to read-dedicating it to her and calling it Nocturnal Animals, his pet name for her.

She starts reading it, and soon it is the only thing that keeps her going each day-the story drawing her in and connecting to how she feels.

Novel:

Tony Hastings (Jake Gyllenhaal), his wife Laura (Isla Fisher), and daughter are all traveling to visit their aunt Martha. They decide to drive through the night, but are run off the road by some very dangerous guys.

The men attack them, yell, and abuse them and take off with the the women, stranding Tony in the middle of nowhere. When Tony manages to survive the desert and get help they discover his wife and child dead-beat, suffocated, and raped.

He and Detective Bobby Andes (Michael Shannon) team up to try and discover these murders, hunting them down. We see Tony’s grief, guilt, and struggle of what happened that night.

Flashbacks:

As Susan reads she remembers her life with Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) more and more. How they ran into each other in grad school and she married him to find her way and because she loved him. How her mom warned her about their differences in thoughts and ambition. She remembers how things started to fall apart because she couldn’t believe in Edward. How he tried to fight for them. And how she made the biggest mistake of her life.

So yeah. I didn’t like this film at all. First of all there is no growth in the character of Susan. She marries Tony as she feels lost and likes his idealism, she goes with Hutton because of his stability, and then she is looking back at Edward because she wants romance. All she can think of is to run to a man to get away from her unhappiness. But the problem is her-not the men. She will always be unhappy until she can have some introspection. She should seriously consider just being by herself for a bit.

Get it together!

None of the other characters either really endeared me to them.

I did think Jake Gyllenhaal was phenomenal in this as the Tony Hastings’ character. I was blown away by his powerful performance and how he really captured the role.

Wow!

Plus where was the mystery???? Where????

And she aborted her husband’s baby! And to make that worse she had her lover she was cheating on her husband with take her!

I would just pass this film on by.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to This is a Bad One, the Worst Yet. I Need the Old Blade Runner…: Blade Runner (1982)

For more Amy Adams, go to I Choose You: Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2008)

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