Reel Reviews | The Nest

by Charles Kirkland Jr.

An ambitious broker relocates his family from New York to a mansion in the Surrey suburbs of London in The Nest.

Rory O’Hara (Jude Law) is a broker who thinks he has found the deal to make all deals.  In order to get it, he has to move his family reluctantly from their warm New York home to a large, idyllic mansion outside London.  He promises his wife, Allison (Carrie Coon) that this is the last move and that it is the best for the family.  The family soon finds out that all that glitters is definitely not gold as they struggle just to survive.

Written and directed by Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene), The Nest is a drama that stars Law and Coon along with Oona Roche as the rebellious teenaged daughter Samantha and Charlie Shotwell as the tender son, Ben. 

The Nest is a cautionary romantic drama that on the surface tries to illuminate the dangers of the love of money.  While Jude Law’s Rory believes that the quest for the big score is the best thing for his family, he winds up taking his hands off the wheel of his family and runs the danger of losing it all.  Meanwhile, Carrie Coon is very engaging as the wife who has grown tired of her husband’s “selfless” sacrificing for the family because she has lost everything that was important to her.  But in the end, it becomes clear that this movie is all about how the individuals in a family must compromise with each other to survive.

This film is only the second feature film that Durkin has directed after spending much of his career as a producer.  Durkin seems to have learned from those who he has worked with in the past.  He turns in an adequate level of direction not interfering with too much color or sound and allowing scenes to speak and actors to talk.

Speaking of actors acting.  Jude Law has this strange ability to thrive in roles where the character acts nobly but is truly less than so.  He is a loving father but at the same time, he is a shrewd, selfish, and cold businessman who has lost contact with all that is truly important.  Carrie Coon (Gone Girl) is also very good at playing the disillusioned and desperate wife who is just trying to keep the family together.  Roche (Christmas Again, Stand Clear of the Closing Doors) and Shotwell (Captain Fantastic, All The Money In The World) are great in their supporting roles. Yet despite all the good acting, the movie fails to connect emotionally with its audience.  There is little in the movie that allows anyone who is not experiencing this particular situation in their lives any opportunity to feel sympathetic to any of the characters on the screen.

Rated R for language throughout, some sexuality, nudity, and teen partying, The Nest is a slow predictable journey into the pratfalls of self-obsession in the familiar unit.  It is well-acted and decently directed.  It is not a satisfying or inspiring film and spends its time making the audiences voyeurs and not participators. 

Grade:  C+

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