Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Sundance with Abe: The Nest

I’m thrilled to be attending and covering the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah for the seventh time. I’m seeing as many movies as I can each day and will post reviews of each as I can, as well as video reviews uploaded to YouTube.

The Nest
Directed by Sean Durkin

Any marriage or relationship requires compromise, and both parties must have an appreciation of the other’s needs and desires. A couple may decide to move for a job for one of them or to be nearer to family. There should be a fairness and balance to such decisions, with concessions made and possibilities discussed rather than just being stated as fact. Relationships can survive big, and even multiple, changes, but only if communication remains open and a mutual sense of respect is preserved.

Rory (Jude Law) convinces his wife Allison (Carrie Coon) to move with their two children (Oona Roche and Charlie Shotwell) from New York to London so that he can pursue a business opportunity he believes will pay off tremendously with the shifting economy of the 1980s. His lease of a giant manor seems excessive, and Rory quickly learns that not all his grand ideas will work as well as he had hoped. Resentful of his impulsiveness and failure to deliver, Allison attempts to get back to her work as a horse trainer and find some sense of purpose in a life dictated by her spouse unable to see his own shortcomings.

This is a film that deals with what it means to feel at home, something that Allison and her children struggle with as soon as they arrive in London, while Rory immediately embraces a reprieve from American sensibilities he doesn’t much like. When he brings Allison along to dinners and parties, his tendency to exaggerate and say what he believes other people want to hear rather than being honest becomes apparent, and his ambition is revealed as his ultimate crutch. Through biting retorts and calculated actions, Allison expresses her displeasure, both with her irresponsible husband and societal conventions that she deems archaic and inane.

This is a role that Law has played before, but he’s well-suited for it and demonstrates both a tremendous exhilaration with hitting it big and a disastrous spiral when things fall apart. Coon, a formidable part of “The Leftovers,” dominates all of her scenes opposite Law, ensuring that Allison is heard even if she really isn’t seen. Roche and Shotwell are both good, filling their subplots as they experiment with what this new place means for them. The film, while intriguing, never reaches a point of true resonance, settling instead for a bleak portrait of two people who may just be miserable for the rest of their lives.


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