If there’s any doubt that fashion-designer-cum-film-director Tom Ford loves playing the role of provocateur, the opening to his new film, Nocturnal Animals, should cast it out. A series of naked, morbidly obese women, each with a single stylistic flourish like a drum majorette’s hat or a pair of boots, gyrate on screen in super slow motion.
Absolutely nothing is left to the imagination.
Opinions about the sequence range from calling it body shaming to body positive. There’s no context for what is on the screen until the sequence is over. Your relative comfort with bodies that don’t conform to the Hollywood ideal of beauty will play a role in how you react, as well as how you feel about your own body. It’s one of those cinematic moments that tells you more about yourself than the film you’re watching. Ford probably included it just to get a rise out of people. It’s intentionally confrontational in what is a particularly confrontational movie.