Valentines Day is nearly upon us which neatly coincides with the release of Nina Forever, a creepily off-centre love story.
Something of a goth Blithe Spirit, Nina Forever is the tale of a death obsessed girl and her new boyfriend. And her new boyfriend’s dead ex who won’t stop interfering.
At times a very sweet love story, at others a psychosexual maze of broken hearts and necks, Nina Forever never goes for the easy option. The characters are easy to like but hard to “get.” Nina is smart, beautiful, worshipped by her parents but also cold and aloof. Holly is kind and naive, but also death-obsessed and dangerous (a scene with a printing press had me tensed, ready for the worse, as you’re never quite sure where the movie will take you.)
The movie is powered by three great central performances. Abbie Hardingham is the stand-out as the odd, morbid though sweet Holly, almost always on the verge of either falling in love or suicide (and the film seems to play off the romantic poetry trope of love and death being essentially the same). Fiona O’Shaughnessy also shines. Her performance as the physically broken but still very bitchy, very alluring Nina is superb, her jerky, floppy movements betraying the trauma Nina suffered in her death. Cian Barry does an excellent job as the straight-man between two such weirdly watchable characters.
What is remarkable is that the film moves beyond the easy trope of putting the man in the foreground and making the movie about him juggling a new relationship and a high-maintenance ex. Instead Holly is the focus and her relationship with Nina is the main driver of the plot. In fact at times Rob is something of a spare part – the catalyst but not the most interesting part of the resulting reaction. The interactions between Holly and Nina simmer with tension as Nina judges her replacement and Holly wonders what all the fuss was about.
Directed by the Blaine Brothers in the manner of a classic British kitchen-sink drama, the movie deftly deals with themes such as loss and grief, depression and moving on. At times light and funny, at others dark and haunting, Nina Forever is an alternative Valentines treat – not quite a love story but sweet, scary and sexy as hell.
GS Rating: 4/5
GS Blogger: Bobby Diabolus