In Nocturnal Animals, Susan is shown calling her daughter after reading an excerpt from her ex-husband's novel.


Is that you? Is everything OK?

Yes, everything is fine.

I just wanted to hear your voice. I miss you.

You woke me. I'm still in bed. Sunday morning, Mom. Can I call you back?

Yes. Invite me later. Go back to bed, honey.

You sound strange. Are you OK?

I'm fine. I'm fine. Back to bed. I love you.

Me too.

What I don't understand is that Susan had an abortion earlier in her life, aborting the child that was conceived with her ex-husband.

This movie is also full of metaphors, which is why I am questioning this scene with her daughter. To my knowledge, her daughter is never mentioned during any other part in the movie.

Did Susan actually have a daughter or was this conversation some type of metaphor? If she actually does have a daughter, who is the father?

2 Answers 2


Actually it's the book that is full of metaphors. The book presents a metaphorical reference to how Edward felt when he lost his wife and child.

ref : Nocturnal Animals Explained

Susan is so disturbed by this that she calls her daughter to check on her. This daughter of her's is not Edward's but is Hutton's. It is not mentioned explicitly that Hutton and Susan have a child, but looks like they did.

A point to note here is the dead body of India is lying in the same posture as Susan's current daughter. This is done to amplify the analogy for us, the audience.

In short, yes she does have a daughter. And it is indicative that the father is Hutton.

Also, Susan's daughter is played by the actress named "India". In the book, Tony's daughter's name is also "India". I don't know if this was intentional. But in spite of this connection, Susan's daughter is not Edward's because they haven't met after the abortion in 19 years.


The daughter in the scene is living on her own, in bed naked with another man. So the implication is that she is at least 18 years old. It's been 19 years since Susan and Edward divorced, and presumably that long since the purported abortion, so considering the gestation period of a human, and the time passed, either this daughter doesn't really exist except in Susan's mind (fantasy to get through the guilt) or it is actually Edward's daughter and the abortion never happened, and that's what Hutton meant when he said Edward will never know!

  • This doesn't make much sense. When Hutton said "Edward will never know", he meant that he'll never know that they just killed his child. Not that they were secretly keeping his child as Hutton's own, because: (1) accepting to keep the child would not in the slightest fit with the cold and ego driven personality of Hutton, and (2) because the child having been aborted just makes so much more sense in the movie with Edward standing in front of their car.. at the abortion clinic, crushed to spiritual death.
    – Ciabaros
    Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 17:27

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