All About Nina further further proves the odd disconnect which modern American indie director have when directing and writing character studies. In All About Nina, we have what easily could have been one of the most complex and profound detailed characters put to screen in the 21st century, which unfortunately didn’t create much traction due to severe mis-direction and tonal inconsistencies. I was rooting for this film at first, observing and generally enjoying the film’s anti-toxic masculinity message. The problem? It just never stuck with me. Everything, with an exception of Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s performance and THAT one monologue scene which occurred in the climax, were all played safe and generally harmless.
We live in a time where the Me Too movement is running about, aiding the ripped apart survivors of these heinous crimes. The problem with the All About Nina, is mainly how Nina’s character grew and developed. Although Winstead’s performance elevates the original material, her bitter and feisty character only goes so far, until we, the audience, start to genuinely dislike her. So when the huge thematic turn of events occurs during the third act, although emotionally devastating, the end result feels more void of consequence and unrewarded. All About Nina is the definition of a film going through a political agenda. Don’t get me wrong. Plenty of films which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed throughout the years, have followed a similar pattern in developing their stories. However, with All About Nina, nothing really feels earned at the end, including character interactions and chemistry. It all feels safe. So what’s the fun in that?
I think it’s about time for the American Indie to change its ways in terms of presentation. While All About Nina is quite solid, and has its moments of impact, the problem with the traditional Sundance/Tribeca formula, is the accumulation of similar plot beats and visual aesthetics, which makes the independent film representation from the United States stale and lifeless. No matter how well you can write or perform, presentation and execution should always be the director’s focus.
In the end, we’re left with All About Nina, a decent albeit tasteless product which feels more like Me Too bait rather than a sufficient well-developed think-piece. Mary Elizabeth Winstead will always be great in any role, and All About Nina further proves this fact. While Winstead’s performance may be terrific, and some of the messages mentioned, there’s not much else here to raise applause for. It’s a decent, muddled film that doesn’t deserve an act on stage, and should be largely skipped off the spotlight, with an exception of it’s heart breaking climax-monologue.
All About Nina is now playing in select North American theaters