What Is the Story About?
In some near future, Anna and Ryan are a couple who have found true love. And it’s proven by a controversial new technology where the couple needs to extract their fingernails to get to know their compatibility. However, as Anna joins the love testing Institute as an instructor, she meets Amir and falls in love with him.
Jessie Buckley churns a moving performance with an aching longing and shadow of sadness in her. The quietest of stares she shares with Riz Ahmed’s Amir makes it for the film’s mood and most poignant performance. However, the actress should’ve been given more room to perform.
Riz Ahmed’s Amir is a romanticist, like Anna and he roots for the couples thereby making the viewer root for his equation with Anna. The actor doesn’t get deeper layers to enact out, but his rapport with Buckley is very endearing even if the duo doesn’t share an exceptional chemistry.
Written by Christos Nikou, Sam Steiner and Stavros Raptis and directed by Christos Nikou, Fingernails is a dystopian or a futuristic sci-fi romance that bases itself on compatibility and rebels against the notion of monogamy and exhaustive long-term relationships. Fingernails has its agenda clear, there’s no how’s, but only what’s.
Fingernails begins with a look at Anna-Ryan, a couple that flaunts their perfect 100% compatibility score, calculated by a compatibility meter in a love Institute on which, relationships and their longevity are based. The love institute tests whether a couple is truly in love, or if it’s only one sided or its lack thereof by a painful fingernail extraction procedure. Anna, an unemployed teacher starts working as an instructor in this Institute.
This is when their seemingly 100% compatible relationship starts cracking. As Anna joins Amir, a co-instructor in the institute and gets closer to him as she trains herself in the entire procedure, she begins to doubt her relationship with Ryan and predictably fall in love with Amir. Revealing what happens next would be too much spoilers, but Fingernails is a careful yet shallow dissection of relationships.
Fingernails doesn’t explain how the painful fingernail extraction test came into existence. It doesn’t explain the logic behind the metaphorical existence of fingernail extraction and love, either. May be to denote, love itself is a painful procedure? We never know. Also lest to forget, why would people relentlessly engage in such painful acts to test their compatibility? We do not have an answer to that too.
However, the lack of logic wouldn’t have hurt if the film explored the psyche of its characters, their bonding and their connection far deeper. The film makes comments like how being in love is far lonelier than loneliness in itself etc without substantiating its arguments.
Intentionally slow-paced romances needs to be deeper like Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster or Celine Song’s ‘Past Lives’. Sadly, Fingernails doesn’t hit the right note all the time. It does come close, but that’s about it. Nikou borrows the aesthetics of Lanthimos, but his writers pale to live up the complexity of the theme he’s chosen.
That said, Fingernails excels in its quieter moments and the actors shine, but most of the cast is underused in the film. To be concise, Fingernails is a good watch. It fits the bill of a slow paced sci-fi romance, but if it really excels and makes its mark seen, is an unanswered question.
Fingernails under utilizes some of the most wave making actors of today’s era in roles that are subservient and meaningless. Be it Jeremy Allen White’s Ryan or the exceptional Annie Murphy’s Natasha. They’re limited by cardboard partner characters with minimal impact despite grounded performances from both. Luke Wilson as Duncan is however a charming act.
Music and Other Departments?
Christopher Stracey’s music is very much on same lines as of Cha Cha Real Smooth. Soft, melancholic and moody. However, the most intimate love affair in the film is between Marcell Rév’s camera and Jessie-Riz. The warm colours, lighting and close-ups of both actors makes the viewer as well fall in love with them and we aren’t complaining.
Jessie Buckley & Riz Ahmed’s performances
Unjustifiable lack of logic
plays safe & doesn’t go deep enough
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Fingernails Movie Review by Binged Bureau