Nocturnal Animals : What it all meant

What it all meant

Hoping to get some feedback as to what all happened. Here are my thoughts:
-Gyllenhaal's character in the story (Tony) was actually Amy Adams.
-The entire story was showing how weak Tony was. He never defended himself, he didn't fight for his family, and he hid out when the killers said his wife needed him. All the the negatives things happening around him happened because he did nothing about it.
-Amy Adams's character in real life never fought to be happy. She didn't work to save her marriage, she eventually went the easy route by giving in to her mother. Also, in the board room scene....she chose to keep the employee that she had recommended the day before be fired because you need to give the person a chance.
-I believe Edward either had lung cancer or that the book was possibly a suicide note.

Re: What it all meant

That's interesting. I kinda like that interpretation better than mine.

I wrote this as a comment to another post:

My interpretation was that he felt she left him because she thought he was weak. I saw the story as a way for him to work through his feelings about loosing her and her daughter because of that. So he writes a story were the character is too "weak" to take revenge on the people who killed his wife and daughter but then in the end he does do it. When he didn't show up at the restaurant I assumed he had stood her up to hurt her. He is no longer as good of a person and has learned how to take revenge, like his novel character.

There is no such thing as too much time 

Re: What it all meant

Actually don't think it's that open to interpretation.

- she married him but then divorced him and aborted his kid, maybe due to pressure from her new guy who she ended up marrying and having a daughter with, but he ended up cheating on her and was probably going to leave her
- he wrote the story and sent it to her to express his feelings on what he felt she did to him, even though it was a couple decades after the fact
- he stood her up at the end to reinforce the pain she caused him

She insisted she wasn't like her mother at the beginning but ended up being like her, and did leave him because she thought he was weak, which he knew and it devastated him. In the book he wrote he blamed himself for being weak and not stopping what happened to his wife/kid, which he also felt, at least subconsciously, in his real life.

At the beginning when she was talking to her 2nd husband she said something like she had tried to talk to Edward a couple years before but he refused, showing that he still had disdain for her. She also commented on it being sad that he never remarried. It was a pretty devastating story, I thought.

Re: What it all meant

I agree with pretty much all of that. I actually found the ending to be petty. Very stylistic film, lovely score, but kinda a petty, childish message in a sense.

Re: What it all meant

"She married him but then divorced him and aborted his kid, maybe due to pressure from her new guy who she ended up marrying and having a daughter with, but he ended up cheating on her and was probably going to leave her"

If we leave out the cheating, then Susan also made the mistake that many women do: They look for a man who's ambitious, but fail to realize that if he's ambitious he will spend most of his time at work instead of with her. And that was one of the things Susan was unhappy about. I think at heart she really just wanted a guy she felt happy with, no matter how ambitious he was, and I think that's why she looked so happy when she first sat down at the restaurant in the end, because she had been happy with Edward in many ways, and getting back together with him would make her happy again (one of the things Edward had done was pay attention to her). But she had just been so heavily conditioned by her mum and her surroundings that she didn't realise what she truly wanted until it was too late.
In the same sense, she "had every reason to be happy", as she said in the beginning, as she was somewhat rich, succesful and so on, but money, prestige and stupid/pretentious/expensive art didn't make her happy.
What I often say is that I'm not very ambitious when it comes to work, but I'm ambitious when it comes to happiness, and I believe that's a healthier attitude.

Re: What it all meant

Actually don't think it's that open to interpretation.

If there's one thing I learned from reading many posts is there's plenty of ways to interpret this film.

Re: What it all meant

Really nice theory you got there!
Agree with most of it!
I think we all can agree on that the book was about how he metaphoricly felt like after she did what she did to him.

I do not know if he did have cancer or not but I do believe that he in the end of the book was saying that the old Edward that she knew and loved was dead (that is why Tony died), she "killed" him along with his love for her (the heartbeats). His hatered for her spread in him like "cancer" and he probably could not live like that anymore. When he asked her what day she wanted to meet he probably wanted to make sure he was dead by then or he just wanted her to relise that he will never ever forgive her and probably that is what she understood in the end when she got stood up... or she understood he was dead.

Re: What it all meant

Reiterating some comments here, but yeah, the entire novel was basically his metaphor for the death of their relationship, and his absence in the final scene was his way of "walking out" on her—an eye for an eye, if you will. A very depressing film.

Re: What it all meant

Why did the movie include a shot of the teenage daughter being raped? Why the attack on nude obese women in the opening scene?

This movie is clearly self-indulgent, annoying and pretentious, if not misogynist. Also, a sign of bad writing (or acting - sometimes, actors add more foul language than what's in the script) is including a string of numerous "f" words.

Re: What it all meant

What it all meant is subject to a lot of interpretation...

Did Edward die (or was he terminally ill) vs is he simply moving on with his life now?

Was the ending of the book a 'suicide note' vs merely a manifestation that their relationship was dead? Of course, there is overlap between the two questions.

The answers to these questions would have had sufficient impact to the story of the characters which is why I was a bit peeved that there was no response to them.

The ending would have been more climatic if there was more closure, and in my opinion, this movie needed a climatic ending given the substantial tension that was established all throughout the film.

Just my thoughts.

Re: What it all meant

IDK I honestly thought the she was going crazy and seeing things maybe edward wasn't really there, and she was just going through some insomina or something like that. Or maybe edward killed himself at the end.

Another day another dream

Re: What it all meant

maybe edward wasn't really there,

A lot of people who post here seem to acknowledge that in some scenes, Amy Adams is imagining things, i.e. delusional.
So it stands to reason that nothing can be trusted of what she experiences.

So I like the comment that maybe she is imagining Edward also. Her marriage is falling apart. Her husband goes to NY and when she is on the phone with him he has a girlfriend in the elevator (or is she imagining that too).

So she is recalling an earlier relationship. Anyone here ever do that? Reflect back on an old relationship when going through rough times in a current one? So surely she could just be projecting all her own issues into this story.

I like the many layers in this story. Open to many interpretations.

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Re: What it all meant

I just love all the possibilities this film is encouraging. It's great to see all these ideas spawn from one film.

It's the best way to write a film. To inspire perspective and thought.

Re: What it all meant

Interesting...I definitely saw Amy Adams as Ray, And Jake as Tony/himself. She inevitably kills him if you believe it was a suicide note and thats where I took it. Though Tony is perhaps weaker than Jake, Amy perceives Jake as weak, which is part of why she left him, never believed he could actually write a novel be successful, etc. So Tony being weak is more because of Amy's perception of Jake than Jake actually being weak himself.

Re: What it all meant

Amy Adams's character in real life never fought to be happy.

You sure? She did fight against her mother's wishes to marry Edward...which probably meant being cut off from her family/wealth too. That's a hard thing to do, but she wanted love.

She didn't work to save her marriage, she eventually went the easy route by giving in to her mother.

I disagree here. I think it's much harder to throw away a marriage with someone you deeply love, to try and better yourself, than to compromise and settle by just apologizing every time, and living in misery. (I'm not applying this to all divorces, because there are people who don't really love, or know love, and marry; but we are shown Susan clearly loved Edward).

When logic and science aren't on your side, you always lose.

Re: What it all meant

To me Tony was Edward. Edward says to Amy earlier in the film that all stories are about the author.

I think he is working through what happened to him. That he believes he was not strong, and allowed another man to take his wife and kill his child. This left him angry - we literally see Tony blinded by his vengeance at the end of the film before stumbling into the light.

But I believe in the end Amy Adams was right all along. He had a strength, just a different strength. He was able to stay true to himself, and finally write his novel.

Amy Adams was the weak character. She did leave the man she loved for vain, shallow reasons. She couldn't support him because she lacked his creative core. She lets her husband screw another woman. She can't stand for her own convictions at the board meeting. She doesn't really believe in the art she supports. And in the end, she goes running back to Edward.

The only think I am unclear of is what happened to Edward. Greg died at the end - I was under the impression that he gun went off when he fell, and thus shot himself. My wife didn't see that, so maybe I misunderstood. So my first impression was that the novel was essentially a long suicide note but now I am leaning more toward it being a "screw you" letter. He's done with her, and finally moving on, while she is stuck in her dead end, miserable life.