Nocturnal Animals Review TIFF

The Plot

Art gallery owner Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) receives a manuscript from her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) and becomes engrossed in the story while she struggles with her deterioriating marriage with businessman Hutton (Armie Hammer).

The Good

Seven years after the success of his directorial debut, A Single Man, writer-director Tom Ford returns with an adaptation of Austin Wright’s 1993 novel, Tony and Susan. When Susan is given a manuscript from ex-husband Edward, titled after his nickname for her, Nocturnal Animals, she becomes absorbed with the story and concocts her own version inside her head. In this story within the story, the main character, Tony is envisioned as a bearded Edward, who goes on a journey of revenge with Michael Shannon’s Detective Andes after a late night drive ends disastrously for his wife and daughter (played by Isla Fisher and Ellie Bamber respectively).

Meanwhile in the ‘real world’, Susan begins to reminisce about her relationship with Edward and how their marriage unravelled, as her current marriage starts to unravel also.

Ford manages to balance both storylines with ease, though the world set inside the manuscript feels much more detailed than that of its real world counterpart. This is no doubt due to the powerhouse performances from both Gyllenhaal and Shannon. That said however, Amy Adams manages to bring enough to the table to make her side of the plot interesting too.

The Bad

There’s really not much to complain about with Fords latest. Other than the previously discussed lack of any real interesting plot in its real world storyline, despite Adams’ best efforts. While the two are well balanced, with the manuscript plot given more screen time as it rightly deserves, it can be argued that sticking with just the manuscript storyline could have made Nocturnal Animals an even more engrossing film than it already is, but that would mean ditching the wonderful Amy Adams…

The Ugly Truth

Adams tries her best which is better than most other actresses could have done with this storyline, but unfortunately she is overshadowed by the powerhouse double performance from Jake Gyllenhaal and the addition of Michael Shannon in its more intriguing plot.

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