Nocturnal Animals

The Film Itself

“It was exhilirating and kept your attention the whole time you were watching.”-My Roommate

I don’t know if it’s just because I don’t usually go for a movie like this (but put Aaron Taylor-Johnson in a movie and I am there), but this movie seemed surprisingly different and new, which is a rare thing to see nowadays. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie like this. It feels like Tom Ford is still learning. I think his next couple of movies could be absolute masterpieces, and this one was a gigantic step in the right direction. I mean I have no idea because I’ve never seen A Single Man, but this one just doesn’t feel like quite his full potential.

Upon first glance, it seems as though this movie is all about the fashion and style. That is so far from the truth. The fashion and style is important thematically, but the thing that really stands out about this movie is hands-down the acting. Tom Ford is my kind of director because he gets acting. This movie is all about the eyes and I LOVE IT. Alright. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is HOT. No doubt about it. He also created my single favorite moment in all of cinema*. But one wonders if that could be a fluke, created by the illusion of his dazzling crystalline eyes. No. It most assuredly is not. This movie officially shot him straight past Ewan McGregor to the spot of my number one favorite actor. He is so good at playing just an annoying, disgusting jerk of a hick, one that we have all encountered, but it’s more than that. I don’t think anyone could miss THE scene. When Jake Gyllenhaal is screaming his head off at Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but the camera isn’t on Jakey boy. It’s on Aaron. He doesn’t speak a word but he taunts us all with those beautiful eyes. Goodness gracious. He’s not the only one. Jake and Amy Adams do it consistently too and it’s amazing. But Aaron Taylor-Johnson definitely stole the show. No that’s not true. Jake Gylenhaal and Amy Adams more than held their own, but I think THE scene probably stands out in everyone’s mind.

Now you may be asking yourself, well why isn’t this Tom Ford’s piece de resistance then? Well, I’m not a huge fan of all his camera shots. They can be kind of choppy, but maybe that was his intention. Also, I feel as though it’s a little all over the place. The way I see it, this movie is a romantic drama disguised as a psychological thriller. And it is wonderful at being that. Maybe it was the marketing of this movie, but during the whole movie, my roommate and I were just waiting with baited breath for a plot twist that didn’t come. Well I suppose it did come. The plot twist was more simple than anyone could have imagined. It was all a metaphor for the relationship. Which honestly I loved. I don’t know if I fully understood all of it but hey it was pretty cool.

Oh right the fashion! I loved the metaphor with the makeup. Like when she moved further away from herself ( and Edward) she wore way more makeup and she took it off again to go get Edward back. Also Amy Adams was great and all but who could ever believe that she is a super cynical person. No you know what, I did feel like she was coming from a real place with that which is great because it makes her seem like more of a real person. I really did feel like she had sad eyes.

Bechdel Test

The website I usually use for this said this movie was an easy pass. I’m not so sure about that. Susan definitely has plenty of conversations with other women, but most of them are about either Jake Gyllenhaal or Armie Hammer. Although the board meeting at the museum probably counted.

 Fun Fact

No Tom Ford-designed items were used in this movie because he didn’t want it to be a commercial. I respect that.

Best Part

Easily the Aaron Taylor-Johnson eye part but I already discussed that so… probably the opening seen. I’ve never seen anything like that and it was super shocking and interesting and went on way longer than felt appropriate/comfortable in the most wonderful way.

Worst Part

I mean I have a compassionate heart so the whole abduction scene was really hard to watch. I guess I didn’t like the fact that the real Susan had a daughter but I think a lot of that is just things I didn’t pick up on. Is it Edward’s? Did the abortion not take? I don’t feel like it was necessary except to show us that the book is based in real life. Well I guess it was supposed to feel like Amy Adams felt threatened by the story but I just thought it was good writing and any mother would feel worried about her daughter after reading that. Huh. I don’t know.

*my favorite cinematic moment: In Anna Karenina, there’s this scene where Aaron Taylor-Johnson was like tell me not to leave and Keira Knightley didn’t say anything so he starts to leave and then she passionately screams out “NO!” and there’s just this beautiful perfect look of hope in his eyes. It’s brief but it’s everything a hopeless romantic could ever want.

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