Sunday, December 26, 2021


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2018
Director: Christina Choe
Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Ann Dowd, J. Smith-Cameron, Steve Buscemi, John Leguizamo, Virginia Kull, Samrat Chakrabarti, T. Sahara Meer, Tibor Feldman
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
"Nancy" is Christina Choe's feature directorial debut, following a series of shorts that got her noticed in several Film Festivals, including Sundance, where "Nancy" premiered in January of 2018. The film follows the story of Nancy Freeman, a thirty something woman who lives in upstate New York, caring for her mother who has serious health issues. She's an aspiring writer, however all her submissions to get published routinely get declined. After her mother passes away, Nancy sees a news report regarding a couple whose daughter was kidnapped some thirty years ago. When the age progression photo is shown, Nancy notices a vague resemblance, and decides to contact the couple. She mentions to the couple she suspects her mother wasn't actually her birth mother, and that she was in fact kidnapped when she was a child. While the couple initially has some reservations, they eventually ask her to stay, until they can figure out the legitimacy of her claims.
One of the most interesting and compelling arguments to watch this film, lies in the effectiveness with which Christina Choe creates a narrative that envelops us in trying to understand who Nancy actually is. She lives in this ambiguous territory, where we're not entirely sure if she's a swindler, or someone genuinely wanting to connect, or what exactly motivates her. She navigates life without much direction or purpose, aside from her focus on her short stories, so when suddenly the possibility of her life's journey possibly be something quite different than what was originally anticipated, it becomes a very interesting inflection point, both for the narrative, but also for the character herself. This uncertainty, this gray zone in which Nancy operates, makes her a bit of a puzzle, but it's also one of the most riveting aspects of the film. Sadly the third chapter somehow fails to deliver on the premise that the remainder of the film has crafted so well. The film benefits from a wonderful central performance from the underrated Andrea Riseborough, who gets great support from Ann Dowd, J. Smith-Cameron and Steve Buscemi. The cinematography from Zoe White is just desaturated enough to simultaneously illustrate the coldness of the area, but also the barren aspect of Nancy's life itself. It's an insightful and well acted film worth watching.