(2016) (Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Dramatic Thriller: An unhappily married art gallery owner reads her ex-husband's novel and finds herself questioning her life while being drawn into his story that also plays out on the screen.
- Susan Morrow (AMY ADAMS) is a middle-aged owner of an art gallery in Los Angeles who lives a life of luxury. But that hides the fact that she and her husband, Hutton (ARMIE HAMMER), are running out of money and that their marriage is failing. She wants to fix that however possible, but he shows no interest in reciprocating that desire. While he's off on business (and having an affair), Susan receives a draft copy of a book penned by her ex-husband, Edward Sheffield (JAKE GYLLENHAAL), who she hasn't seen for nearly two decades. He's dedicated the work, titled "Nocturnal Animals," to her and she sets out to read his creation.
In it, the Hastings -- father Tony (JAKE GYLLENHAAL), wife Laura (ISLA FISHER) and their teenage daughter, India (ELLIE BAMBER) -- have set off on a long overnight road trip through west Texas. When they encounter two cars traveling in parallel on the two-lane road, Tony gives a honk of the horn for them to let him pass, while India opts to give them "the finger" as they drive by. That doesn't sit well with the three men inside that car -- Ray Marcus (AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON) and his friends Lou (KARL GLUSMAN) and Turk (ROBERT ARAMAYO) -- who then pull alongside Tony's car and start harassing them, eventually resulting in a minor collision and then Ray forcing the Hastings car off the road.
The three men get out and proceed to harass and intimidate the family, and after changing the Hastings' flat tire, get physical with them. That eventually results in Ray and Turk kidnapping Laura and India, with Lou forcing Tony to drive the two of them in the general direction where Ray was headed. But when they get to the end of a dirt road, Lou kicks Tony out of the car, leaving him in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.
Tony eventually finds a home and calls for help, with Detective Bobby Andes (MICHAEL SHANNON) ending up assigned to the kidnapping case. From that point on, the detective does what he can to help Tony get justice against those who wronged him and his family.
As Susan continues to read the book, it dredges up memories of her past with her ex, both good and bad, including her snobby mother, Anne (LAURA LINNEY), warning her not to marry the writer who she viewed as weak. With her current marriage failing, and knowing she treated Edward badly in the past, Susan begins to wonder if she might get another chance with him.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- Some older teens might show some interest, especially if they're fans of anyone in the cast.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For violence, menace, graphic nudity, and language.
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