Nancy (2018) *** DVD release

October 22nd, 2018
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir/Writer: Christina Choe | US Drama | 74′

In this understated study in narcissism downbeat Upstate New York is brought to life by a captivating Andre Riseborough. She plays a woman who thinks she may be have been kidnapped at birth.

Nancy is a compulsive manipulator of the truth, and a game-changer. In a misjudged bid to garner sympathy, she messes with people’s minds. Leaving meetings early, pretending to be ill or even pregnant – all these kind of moves show her to be at best a fantasist, and worst, completely untrustworthy. A slim story but a worthwhile one draws us into its fascinating web as Nancy quietly drops little thoughts into a conversation which ripple out and affect those around her, changing their dynamic in the process while she retreats into the darkness of her own personality.

A frustrated writer, Nancy prefers her cat Paul to her mother Betty (Ann Dowd), who has Parkinson’s Disease. Their relationship had clearly long since broken-down, but when she dies suddenly Nancy decides to contact a couple she sees on TV (J Smith-Cameron and Steve Buscemi) who talk movingly about their daughter disappearing 30 years previously. Nancy takes things further. 

Naturally, the couple want to believe Nancy is their long lost daughter, there’s an undeniable similarity between the photofit of the missing child and how Nancy looks in the present day. They also enjoy her company as she plays to their sympathy exposing her (pseudo) vulnerability and bringing out the woman’s maternal instinct, while Buscemi gives a strong performance as the inquiring father. The doom-laden tone is enforced by Peter Raeburn’s discordant score. This Sundance and Biennale College-supported indie debut is glum but certainly intriguing. MT



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