Nancy (Andrea Riseborough) has been struggling for some kind of a connection in her life for a long time now. Her mother (Ann Dowd) is harsh and mean to her, leaving Nancy to have to make friends on the internet, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. But after her mother dies, Nancy is left without much of a clue of where to go next, until she stumbles upon an aging-couple (J. Smith Cameron and Steve Buscemi) who are still looking for their daughter after nearly 30 years of said daughter went mysteriously missing. Nancy takes one look at the picture of the kid and thinks to herself: Is this me? They’re both close to the same age and for the most part, Nancy’s whole childhood has been a mystery, so why couldn’t this supposed-girl be her? Nancy meets the family and the three form something of a relationship that, given the situation, gets a little weird and tense at times, but mostly, keeps both parties guessing of what to expect next.
Nancy doesn’t have a whole lot brewing underneath the surface of its plot, but it’s interesting and mysterious enough to keep you glued to where you almost don’t care. It could be a movie about race, about family, about genetics, and all that deep and heavy stuff, but it isn’t – it’s a character-study about an odd and lonely girl, trying to figure out if there’s anyone or anything in her life that she can find a connection to. It’s the small, female-centered character-based drama that Bergman loved and without going too far in my comparisons, Nancy intrigues long enough to keep it worth watching.
Same goes for Andrea Riseborough who, time and time again, seems to really challenge herself as an actress.
And it’s strange to me because when she first started out, Riseborough was mostly seen as a very chic, almost dangerously beautiful model-turned-actress. Nowadays, she’s using said beauty to her advantage and making you look at her and the characters she plays in a different light; her characters are continuously weird and unpredictable, but in a rather tense manner, as if you’re never sure where Riseborough herself is going to go. Nancy is that next creation who feels like she should be simple and pleasant, but with Riseborough’s portrayal, she’s anything but.
You never know whether or not to trust her and it works for the movie because that’s the point. Both Smith-Cameron and Buscemi are great as the married-couple because both of them react to Nancy in interesting, yet believable ways. She’s more in love with the idea of having a daughter-figure back in her life, regardless of if it’s the actual person or not, whereas he’s less trusting and curious about who this gal is and what are her intentions. The movie mostly revolves around these three and their all such good performers, that literally watching them sit in a room, eat breakfast, and/or walk around the museum, is more than enough to enjoy.
If one can really “enjoy” a movie like Nancy, that is.
Consensus: With a stand-out performance from Riseborough, Nancy offers a small, subtle and interesting glimpse at the life of a very disturbed and odd individual.
6.5 / 10
Photos Courtesy of: Samuel Goldwyn Films