Film Review: The Nest

STUDIO: IFC Films | DIRECTOR: Sean Durkin | CAST: Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Charlie Shotwell, Oona Roche
RELEASE DATE: Sept. 18, 2020
SPECS: R | 107 min. | Drama

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie 

The Nest
finds filmmaker Sean Durkin back in the screenwriter/director mode for his sophomore effort nine years after his acclaimed directorial debut Martha Marcy May Marlene (and during which time he chalked up executive producer credits on a half-dozen features, including 2016’s well-regarded Christine and The Eyes of My Mother).

Rory (Jude Law, The Rhythm Section) is an ambitious entrepreneur and former commodities broker who rebels against his poorer past by moving his family four times in ten years to continually chase a wealthier lifestyle. It’s the mid-1980s and business is booming. It’s the booming Eighties and sensing opportunity abroad, Rory persuades his American wife, Allison (Carrie Coon, Widows) a horse trainer, and their children to pack up again and return to his native England so he can rejoin his former firm. Weary of her husband’s seemingly delusional dreams, Allison plays the dutiful wife and soon finds herself living across the pond in costly centuries-old country manor with grounds for her horses and a promised stable.

As the family settles in, they begin to realize this relocation has unpacked more than just boxes of their bedding. Durkin deftly builds a dark, atmospheric tension, framing scenes of long shadowy hallways and heavily paneled rooms to make the sprawling country estate feel overwhelmingly claustrophobic to the point where you expect the film to veer off into haunted house territory. But it’s not ghosts that are unearthed in Durkin’s moody, slow burn of a script, but personal demons.

The unwelcome truths lying beneath the surface Rory and Allison’s marriage–the erosion of their mutual trust and respect for each other–begin to bubble up when Rory’s latest get rich quick scheme falls apart. Law lets the character’s self-absorbed desperation shine as he embarrassingly attempts to schmooze the British upper crust to the point where his own wife laughs in his face. Coon, who is one of the most quietly powerful actresses working today, infuses Allison with a coy yet smoldering core while conveying the years of pent-up resentment with just her facial features and body language.

With all that earned tension, the ending doesn’t quite reach a cathartic climax, but watching the wonderful work of Law and Coon is time well invested.

The Nest opens in theaters on September 18, 2020 and available On Demand November 17, 2020.

About Janine

Janine is a dedicated fan of the 1940 film Kitty Foyle, directed by Sam Wood, written by Dalton Trumbo and starring Ginger Rogers, who won an Oscar for her portrayal. And seeing that film is all it took to make her a lifelong movie lover. Janine is excited to add her insights to the great team at