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Nocturnal Animals

Nocturnal Animals
Nocturnal Animals Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tom Ford
Produced by
Screenplay by Tom Ford
Based on Tony and Susan
by Austin Wright
Music by Abel Korzeniowski
Cinematography Seamus McGarvey
Edited by Joan Sobel
Distributed by Focus Features
Release date
  • September 2, 2016 (2016-09-02) (Venice)
  • November 18, 2016 (2016-11-18) (United States)
Running time
116 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $22.5 million[2]
Box office $30.9 million[3]

Nocturnal Animals is a 2016 American neo-noir psychological thriller film written, produced and directed by Tom Ford, based on the 1993 novel Tony and Susan by Austin Wright. The film stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Laura Linney, Andrea Riseborough, Karl Glusman, and Michael Sheen. The plot follows a divorced art gallery owner as she reads the new novel written by her ex-husband and begins to see the similarities between it and their former relationship.

Principal photography began on October 5, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. The film was released in North America on November 18, 2016, by Focus Features, received largely positive reviews from critics and grossed $30 million worldwide.[3]

Nocturnal Animals was selected to compete for the Golden Lion at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival,[4] where it won the Grand Jury Prize.[5] It received numerous accolades, including Shannon earning a nomination for Best Supporting Actor at the 89th Academy Awards.[6] It also received nine BAFTA Award nominations and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay, plus a Best Supporting Actor win for Taylor-Johnson.[7]


The real world

Angeleno art gallery owner Susan Morrow receives the manuscript for a novel penned by her estranged ex-husband Edward Sheffield along with an invitation for dinner during Edward's upcoming visit to Los Angeles. Marred by her deteriorating marriage to unfaithful businessman Hutton Morrow, Susan becomes consumed by the novel, which is both dedicated to her and named Nocturnal Animals after Edward's nickname for her.

The novel

Tony Hastings is a peaceful man who runs afoul of three local troublemakers – Ray Marcus, Lou, and Turk – during a road trip through West Texas. Forced off the road, Tony is powerless to stop Ray and Turk from kidnapping his wife, Laura, and their daughter, India, and leaving him with Lou, who forces him to drive Ray's car to the end of a road where he is abandoned. Tony manages to evade Ray and Lou when they return looking for him and makes his way to a nearby farmhouse to call the police.

Detective Bobby Andes is assigned to the case and, with Tony, discovers the bodies of Laura and India near an abandoned shack, where they had been raped and murdered. Tony is wracked with guilt. He is contacted by Andes a year later and is asked to identify Lou, who is charged as an accomplice in the murders of Laura and India.

Turk has been fatally shot in a botched robbery, leaving Ray as the final culprit to be brought to justice. Andes arrests Ray, but is ultimately forced to release him as they only have circumstantial evidence of his involvement. On the verge of retirement and having been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Andes decides to take matters into his own hands and with Tony's help abducts Ray and Lou. Andes shoots Lou when he attempts to escape, but Ray succeeds in getting away.

On his own, Tony tracks down Ray to the shack where Laura and India were killed. Ray admits to raping and murdering Tony's wife and daughter, calling him weak. Tony fatally shoots him, but is blinded when Ray hits him on the head with an iron bar. Tony stumbles outside, succumbing to his brain hemorrhage, and dies after falling on his gun, shooting himself in the stomach in the process.

The real world (continued)

Shocked by the dark content and raw emotion of the novel, Susan reminisces about meeting Edward in college and their blossoming relationship, which Susan's domineering mother Anne Sutton objected to, claiming that Edward was not worthy of Susan's affections and that because of his romantic worldviews, he lacked the drive to actually achieve his goals; Susan ignored her mother's objections, ultimately marrying Edward.

After finding further evidence of Hutton's extramarital affair, Susan resumes reading the manuscript. Susan begins to recall her troubled marriage to Edward, which was strained by her frustration with his fledgling career and her dismissive attitude towards his literary aspirations, and culminated with Susan cheating on him with Hutton and ultimately divorcing Edward to marry him. Edward attempted to repair their relationship, but ultimately cut ties with Susan upon learning that she was pregnant with his child but secretly had an abortion to ensure the divorce proceeded. Susan arranges a meeting with Edward at a restaurant, but Edward does not show up.


The real world

The novel


On March 24, 2015, it was announced that Smoke House Pictures' partners George Clooney and Grant Heslov would produce a thriller, Nocturnal Animals, based on Austin Wright's 1993 novel Tony and Susan.[15] Tom Ford was set to direct the film, based on his own script.[15] Ford said that the storytelling concept of the novel appealed to him, explaining, "The film is very different than the book it’s based on. However, the central themes are the same, meaning that when I read the book, what appealed to me as a writer and a filmmaker was the idea of this device of communicating to someone through a work of fiction. Through a written work of fiction. And thereby communicating something that they had not been able to really communicate clearly. I loved that concept."[16]

The next day, Jake Gyllenhaal was set to star in the lead roles, Edward and Tony, Amy Adams was in talks for the female lead role, Susan, and sources confirmed that Joaquin Phoenix and Aaron Taylor-Johnson may be cast in other roles.[8] Focus Features acquired the US distribution rights to the film on May 17, 2015, while Universal Pictures handles the international distribution.[17] Focus' deal was made with $20 million, making this the biggest deal of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, and one of the biggest of the mid 2010s.[17] On August 6, 2015, Taylor-Johnson was confirmed to play a mysterious character who poses a threat to Gyllenhaal's character Tony's family, while Michael Shannon was also added to the cast, playing a detective investigating the violent incident.[10] On August 28, 2015, Armie Hammer also joined the cast of the film, to play Hutton Morrow, Adams' character's husband.[9] On September 9, 2015, Isla Fisher joined the film to play Laura Hastings, Tony's wife.[11] On September 18, 2015, Ellie Bamber was cast in the film to play Tony's daughter.[12] On September 30, 2015, Robert Aramayo was added to the cast.[14] On October 5, 2015, Karl Glusman signed on to star in the film.[13] On October 8, 2015, Peter Nyong'o was also cast in the film.[18]

Principal photography on the film began on October 5, 2015, in Los Angeles, California.[13][19] The final scene in the Japanese restaurant was filmed in the main building of the Yamashiro Historic District.[20][21] It wrapped up on December 5, 2015.[22]


Nocturnal Animals had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 2, 2016.[23][24] The film also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2016,[25] and at the BFI London Film Festival on October 14, 2016.[26]

The film was released in the United States on November 18, 2016.[27]


Box office

Nocturnal Animals grossed $10.7 million in the United States and Canada and $20.2 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $30.9 million.[3]

The film had its North American wide release on December 9, 2016, and was projected to open to $3–5 million. It ended up grossing $3.2 million, finishing 7th at the box office.[28]

Critical response

Nocturnal Animals received largely positive reviews, with critics praising Adams, Gyllenhaal, Shannon, and Taylor-Johnson's performances, Ford's direction and screenplay.[29] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 74% based on 237 reviews, with an average rating of 7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Well-acted and lovely to look at, Nocturnal Animals further underscores writer-director Tom Ford's distinctive visual and narrative skill."[30] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 67 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[31]

Owen Gleiberman of Variety praised the film, stating "Tom Ford's first film since A Single Man is another winner", and complimenting the performances of Gyllenhaal, Adams, Shannon and Taylor-Johnson.[32]

Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent awarded the film five stars, praising the performances and the direction, and stating, "Nocturnal Animals is extraordinarily deft in the way it combines romanticism and bleakness. It's a film that easily could have slipped into extreme pretentiousness but it never puts a foot wrong."[33]



  1. ^ "Nocturnal Animals (15)". British Board of Film Classification. October 4, 2016. Retrieved October 4, 2016. 
  2. ^ Galloway, Stephen (September 7, 2016). "Tom Ford's Inner Life: A Director's Turmoil, Depression Battles and Staggering Talent". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 7, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Nocturnal Animals (2016)". The Numbers. Retrieved February 17, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Venice Film Festival 2016". Deadline. 28 July 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "Venice Film Festival: Golden Lion To 'The Woman Who Left'; Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals', Emma Stone Take Major Prizes – Full List". Deadline. September 11? 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2016.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ "Focus Features Celebrates Four Oscar Nominations". Focus Features. January 24, 2017. Retrieved March 30, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Golden Globes 2017: The Complete List of Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. December 12, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c d Kit, Borys (March 25, 2015). "Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams Circling Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals'". Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Hipes, Patrick (August 28, 2015). "Armie Hammer Joins Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals'". Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c Kroll, Justin (August 6, 2015). "Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon Join Jake Gyllenhaal's 'Nocturnal Animals' (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved August 16, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Fleming Jr, Mike (September 9, 2015). "Isla Fisher Joins Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals'". Retrieved September 22, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Fleming Jr, Mike (September 18, 2015). "Tom Ford Adds Ellie Bamber To 'Nocturnal Animals'". Retrieved September 22, 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c A. Lincoln, Ross (October 5, 2015). "Karl Glusman Joins 'Nocturnal Animals'". Retrieved October 12, 2015. 
  14. ^ a b A. Lincoln, Ross (September 30, 2015). "Robert Aramayo Nabs Roles In 'Game Of Thrones' & 'Nocturnal Animals'". Retrieved October 12, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Kit, Borys (March 24, 2015). "Tom Ford Teams With George Clooney for Thriller 'Nocturnal Animals' (Exclusive)". Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  16. ^ Zacharias, Ramona (January 10, 2017). "Communicating through Fiction: Tom Ford on Nocturnal Animals". Retrieved January 11, 2017. 
  17. ^ a b Fleming Jr, Mike (May 17, 2015). "Focus Features Wins Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals' In Whopping $20 Million Cannes Worldwide Rights Deal". Retrieved May 31, 2015. 
  18. ^ A. Lincoln, Ross (October 8, 2015). "Stan Lee & William Shatner To Unveil Collaboration At Comikaze 2015; 'Nocturnal Animals' Adds Peter Nyong'o". Retrieved October 12, 2015. 
  19. ^ "On the Set for 10/9/15: Marc Webb & Chris Evans Start 'Gifted', Garry Marshall & Julia Roberts Wrap 'Mother's Day'". October 9, 2015. Retrieved October 11, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Yamashiro Hollywood". sparklebungalow. November 30, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Through the Lens...Tom Ford on Nocturnal Animals". Awards Daily. January 7, 2017. 
  22. ^ "On the Set 12/11/15: James Franco and Seth Rogen Start 'The Disaster Artist', Owen Wilson & Ed Helms Wrap 'Bastards'". December 11, 2015. Retrieved December 13, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Venice film festival 2016: Tom Ford's Nocturnal Animals world premiere – in pictures". Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  24. ^ "Nocturnal Animals". Venice Film Festival. Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  25. ^ "Nocturnal Animals". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Nocturnal Animals". BFI London Film Festival. Retrieved September 4, 2016. 
  27. ^ "Nocturnal Animals". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  28. ^ "'Moana' Threepeats at #1, 'La La Land' Opens Big in Limited Release". Box Office Mojo. 
  29. ^ "'Nocturnal Animals' Review: Tom Ford's Complex Suspense Thriller Is Worthy Of Hitchcock". Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Nocturnal Animals (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved February 25, 2017. 
  31. ^ "Nocturnal Animals Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  32. ^ "Film Review: 'Nocturnal Animals'". Variety. Retrieved November 22, 2016. 
  33. ^ "Nocturnal Animals Review: Tom Ford returns with a superb, painstakingly crafted movie sure to pick up awards". September 2, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016. 

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