#TIFF23: “FINGERNAILS” REVIEW
By Mr. Will Wong
Christos Nikou makes his English feature directorial debut in Toronto-filmed FINGERNAILS. It’s quirky, cute and will make you squeamish. All of that in one sitting.
Though the Film dons a nostalgia to it, it is set in the future. Couples now have the ability to test if in fact their love is true at an institute specializing in finger nail tests, putting couples through intimacy-enhancing activities. Anna (Jessie Buckley) lands a job at the institute after testing “positive” for true love with her partner Ryan (Jeremy Allen White). Something doesn’t sit right still. She takes on this job secretly, telling Ryan she’s teaching at an elementary school. Anna works with Amir and while working with the institute’s clientele, they form a bond that has Anna questioning if her true “positive” with Ryan is in fact real.
Nikou tells an age old love triangle story through a new lens, opting for 35mm which together with the styling and soundtrack of the Film, make us feel we’re in the past, even though we’re in the future. His commentary on society’s dependence on technology doing the thinking for us makes this a biting satire, but with a unique mixture of grotesque (yes, these fingernail pulling will have you covering your eyes!), yet charming at once.
Buckley and Ahmed have a believable chemistry, while White isn’t given quite as much to work with, painting the mundane backdrop whereby Anna‘s life is set against. Nikou crafts something thought-provoking though it takes a different route to get there.
FINGERNAILS screens at TIFF ’23 as follows:
Tuesday, September 12
Visa Screening Room at the Princess of Wales Theatre
Premium, Descriptive Sound
Wednesday, September 13
TIFF Bell Lightbox