The 11 Must-See Movies of December

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Courtesy of Focus Features

Nocturnal Animals (December 2nd)

Susan (Amy Adams) is a sophisticated New Yorker who receives a manuscript from her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal). His story is a dark tale of revenge that, as Susan reads along, acts as a metaphor for her and Edward’s marriage.

I’m cheating a bit by including Nocturnal Animals since it had a limited release around Thanksgiving. But A) this is my list and B) I gotta give extra love to one of my favorite films of 2016. If you read my review I gushed a lot about Nocturnal Animals. Based on the novel by Austin Wright, director Tom Ford crafts a tightly wound story of how idealization and reality clash and fracture; how the things we want as youths are beaten out of us.

Amy Adams was great in Arrival, but she’s spellbinding in a film where the ensemble cast works miracles. Everyone, from Adams, Gyllenhaal, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Michael Shannon are utterly entrancing. Ford swathes his film in beautiful imagery, even when he’s presented something ugly, like what happens to Edward’s characters in his novel. This is one of the most sumptuous films of a year that’s had plenty. There’s so much that fills the frame that Ford almost demands you immediately rewatch his dark delights.

Next: Harry Benson: Shoot First