THE NEST – Review by Susan Granger

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Back in the 1980s, which is when this film is set, one of the Ladies’ Home Journal’s most popular monthly features was “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” drawing from the files of marital therapists and counselors.

Dutifully following along those lines, writer/director Sean Durkin introduces hot-shot British commodities broker Rory O’Hara (Jude Law) who leaves Wall Street to return to the U.K. with his American wife Allison (Carrie Coon), an avid equestrian, and two children: young Benjamin (Charlie Shotwell) and his teenage half-sister Samantha (Oona Roche).

Sensing an opportunity to score big-time, ambitious Rory rejoins his former firm and leases a cavernous, centuries-old country manor in Surrey where – as legend has it – Led Zeppelin once stayed while working on an album.

No one’s happy there, including Allison’s beloved black thoroughbred stallion Richmond, who raises a ruckus as a proper stable and riding ring are under construction.

Problem is: stretched far beyond his financial means, Rory’s a pathological liar. He tells people they still have a penthouse in Manhattan and are shopping for a flat in Mayfair. And his patrician English boss (Michael Culkin) is resisting Rory’s brash buyout plan which would net him a huge finder’s fee.

For many years, chain-smoking, co-dependent Allison has enabled Rory’s luxurious fantasies, contributing to the posh facade – until she can’t stand the pretense any longer. Bitterly disillusioned, she is tired of stashing cash in hiding places and pretending that all’s well.

Having garnered acclaim for “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (2011) and launching Elizabeth Olsen’s career, Sean Durkin’s casting choices are commendable. Looking startlingly like Cate Blanchett, Carrie Coon’s inscrutable beauty matches Jude Law’s recklessly brash masculinity. And Hungarian DP Matyas Erdely’s delivers appropriately ominous cinematography.

In the press notes, Durkin acknowledges that the slim concept emanated from his own transatlantic memories of alienation as a child in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

On the Granger Gauge of 1 to 10, The Nest is a sinister, somber 6 – yet another dysfunctional family drama.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.