Shane McDonald Facebook pixel

Nocturnal Animals Synopsis

Nocturnal Animals opens with Susan (played by Amy Adams), a successful Los Angeles art-gallery owner opening an exhibit. Her life, which looks to be very affluent and successful, is anything but. Her second husband is constantly travelling and she sees him less and less. While he is away (on business), she is shaken by the arrival of a pre-release manuscript of a book which was written by her first husband Edward, who she has not seen in almost 20 years. The book tells the frightening story of a teacher who finds a trip with his family turning into a nightmare. As Susan reads this mysterious book, it forces her to examine her past and confront some dark truths about herself and how she treated her first husband.


I was not all too interested in seeing Nocturnal Animals, but having arrived at the cinema too late to see Arrival, which also stars Amy Adams, Nocturnal Animals was on in 15 mins, so went to see this instead. I had seen on BBC and a few Irish sites that Nocturnal Animals was a 5 Star film, so my hopes were high. I also noticed Michael Sheen was in the credits and I always like his work.

Brace yourself for a popcorn wrenching opening sequence of a … I won’t tell you, you will just have to enjoy that for yourself. After the opening sequence, we find Susan at an art launch, but her husband does not arrive as he is too late from the office. Shortly thereafter the manuscript as mentioned in the synopsis arrives. Susan starts reading the text and the story shows Susan in the present and her imagining the book. The storyline is tense, dark and reminiscent of another film starring Kurt Russell called ‘Breakdown’. There are scenes of some violence in the film so don’t go if you are looking for something upbeat as I didn’t find much in this film which I liked.

I didn’t find the story in the manuscript which Susan read very compelling. The story was basic, didn’t have any twists and didn’t go anywhere interesting. Every so often Susan would be startled by a spark from the fire or a bird at the window – this just didn’t add anything to the film.

In conclusion, Nocturnal Animals seemed to me like a rambling stream of consciousness which thought it was going somewhere. My hopes for seeing Michael Sheen were dashed as he is only in 1 scene for about 2 minutes. The plot didn’t form a cohesive intertwining of the storyline as was promised by other reviews. The end of the manuscript just left me thinking, is this it?
Overall, I was not impressed and I think there are better films out there.
Maybe Nocturnal Animals is your sort of film – but not mine!

Next up – Arrival !!


  • Overall 56% 56%
  • Storyline 45% 45%
  • Cinematography 68% 68%
  • Chances of Winning an Oscar 25% 25%
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Nocturnal Animals, Movie (2016)
Author Rating