Tuesday 14 November 2023

REVIEW: Fingernails (2023 Film) - Starring Jessie Buckley and Luke Wilson

Review by Jon Donnis
"Fingernails," the 2023 American science fiction romantic drama directed and co-written by Christos Nikou, largely propelled by the commendable performances of its lead cast members. The film takes a daring leap into the realm of unconventional storytelling, delving into a unique societal premise that involves a peculiar love test requiring the sacrifice of a fingernail. While the narrative unfolds with intriguing ideas and solid character portrayals, it occasionally falters, particularly for those anticipating a more extravagant science fiction spectacle.

The story follows Jessie Buckley's character, Anna, a school teacher who joins the Love Institute, a recently established company founded by Luke Wilson's character, Duncan. The institute's mission is to guide couples through relationship-strengthening exercises, ultimately leading them to pass the eccentric love test. The central conflict arises from the negative impact the test has had on relationships, causing an increase in breakups and divorces.

Buckley's performance as Anna is solid, capturing the internal struggles of navigating love and commitment in a society where a single fingernail determines the authenticity of a relationship. Riz Ahmed, portraying Anna's co-worker Amir, adds depth to the narrative, introducing an intriguing layer of romantic tension as Anna explores her feelings amidst the unconventional workplace dynamics.

The film's strength lies in its poignant portrayal of human emotions and the relentless pursuit of love. The chemistry between Anna and Amir is a standout, providing a compelling exploration of the complexities of romantic entanglements. The desperation to prove and affirm love becomes a central theme, resonating with viewers on a visceral level.

Despite these strengths, "Fingernails" occasionally loses its narrative focus, delving into philosophical reflections of thought that might leave some viewers wondering if a more streamlined plot could have elevated the film further. The eccentric and unconventional nature of the storyline may not cater to a broad audience, but for those who appreciate films that provoke thought, "Fingernails" offers a unique lens into the ideology of love and societal expectations.

The ending, however, might leave some viewers wanting more. While the film successfully builds tension and emotional investment, the resolution falls a bit flat, missing an opportunity to provide a more satisfying and conclusive ending. Nevertheless, "Fingernails" is a commendable effort that stands out for its thought-provoking ideas and the chemistry exhibited by its talented ensemble cast. It's not the typical science fiction extravaganza but a distinctive exploration of love and society, showcasing the director's willingness to take risks in storytelling.

I score Fingernails a thought provoking 7.5 out of 10.

Out Now on Apple TV at https://apple.co/3swHoz4