Film of the Day (04/18/19): All About Nina

Written and Directed By Eva Vives

For a comedy about a comic who can’t get control of her life, this was heavier than I expected. Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been impressive in most things I’ve seen her in, but this was a showcase for her to truly shine (hence the title), and she really took the ball and ran with it. Nina is as cynical and vitriolic as one might expect a budding comedian to be, but when given a window into her life offstage, it’s easy to see where the fire comes from. Winstead is witty and acerbic, each quality constantly trying to upstage the other, exploding out of her with an intensity that ranges from quiet to screaming, from private conversations to the most public of forums.

Common has a really solid turn as Rafe, the one man who finally makes a big enough impression on Nina to make her want to change her wild sexual ways and settle down. Naturally, she doesn’t know how to respond to her emotions, but Rafe is right there for her, trying to keep her on a path, instead of constantly changing directions and sabotaging herself. He plays his role with the smooth cool factor that you might expect, but there is more to him than meets the eye. Common and Winstead make a good and interesting on-screen pairing, with plenty of chemistry to go around.

The third act certainly took the narrative down a darker path than I had anticipated, but Nina couldn’t come to terms with newfound success so, like her relationship, she had to put it in danger. But the way in which she did so was brutally honest, raw and powerful, and invokes issues that should be discussed and not kept as hidden as they have been.

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