‘It’s frozen in time in my memory…’
Cinema is made up of macroelements (genre, narrative, setting, plot, characters) and microelements (editing, cinematography, sound, performance, mise-en-scene). Critics seem more concerned with the latter whilst audiences tend to respond better to the former. Nancy is a critics film. It’s slow and ponderous (despite clocking in at under 90 minutes), it’s beautifully shot and wonderfully performed, but it’s also just a little… meh…
Following the death of her overpowering and critical mother Betty (Ann Dowd), Nancy Freeman (Andrea Riseborough) becomes increasingly convinced that she was kidnapped as a child. This culminates in her showing up at the home of Ellen (J. Smith-Cameron) and Leo (Steve Buscemi) claiming to be their daughter who actually was kidnapped many years earlier.
As previously alluded to, this is a film that relies on performance and atmosphere rather than plot. The result is a film that boasts some great performances and a couple of nice visual moments but little else. Writer-director Christina Choe does a good job of keeping things ambiguous and this helps to keep things interesting, but ultimately, Nancy feels as if it would have worked just as well as a short. There simply isn’t enough here to justify a feature-length film.