The Nest tells the story of a family, a British businessman and his American wife, a horse trainer, who at his sudden & suspicious behest move with their two children from her native New York to his native England, where everything swiftly feels even more wrong, and then precedes to start falling apart.
It is in every way a throwback to those mid-budget psychological adult dramas of the later 20th-century, with an added soupçon of always maintaining this certain artistic edge where you’re thinking, this could still plausibly become a haunted house movie, there’s still time. While it never fully crosses over into horror or any of the other genres that sometimes slip along just under the surface, I still think this would be a good recommendation for people who liked last year’s Parasite, a movie so boldly, sharply crafted that it makes The Nest’s own financial spikiness seem understated by comparison, but they do contain a number of shared elements to enjoy: a narrative of social climbing & tension, a certain twistiness to the emotional landscape, a big rich house in a featured role, and just a lot of sterling direction and cinematography.
I loved this movie. “Yay,” I kept saying to myself happily. The interiors, the clothes, the particularly Reagan flavor of its 1980s, alongside a soundscape subtly but increasingly textured by the teenage daughter’s taste for the British new wave that’s coming in over the airwaves in Surrey. Loved her especially by the way, a great character for this talented young actor in a movie that definitely could have just been dominated by the adults. Though regarding them, I just continue to be so pleased by this career stage of Jude Law, Actor-slash-Producer, where so many of the roles he does now are ones where it’s like he’s having a complete ball expertly deploying his skillset and middle age to play a note-perfect commentary on a movie we associate with him from his twink younger years—here, The Talented Mr. Ripley absolutely. He even pulls out the same grimacing grabby-hands gesture he used as Dickie, and I was incandescent.
Meanwhile, I had never seen Carrie Coon in anything before, and the impact she had on me here was probably most akin to my reaction to meeting Vicky Krieps in Phantom Thread: oh, sorry to the Famous Man, who’s of course great as ever, but that’s why I’m all the more dazzled by YOU babe! This is YOUR movie and you’re killing it! Where have you been all my life! Apparently, in that HBO show The Leftovers. Man, Leftovers fans, you’ve been dining so well.
What else did I love about The Nest? God, so much. I love the nearly impossible to pinpoint yet undeniable way in which the grand wonderful manor house is actually horrible. I love movies where a bunch of adults have a party. I love a black horse, and I particularly love when characters look at a black horse and it seems to become symbolic of their own personal holy mysteries. And I loved, so much, the final scene, going out on something I’m going to call, a certain Joanna Hogg unspokenness. Oh do I love that!