Toronto After Dark Review: Nina Forever
When the movie’s tag line is Nina Forever: A Fucked Up Fairy Tale, you know it’s a perfect fit for Toronto After Dark’s warped sensibilities.
Holly (Abigail Hardingham) develops a crush on the tragic co-worker Rob (Cian Barry) who attempted suicide after his girlfriend died in a car accident.
Holly slowly wins him over, by using her paramedics training to help after he injures his arm at work. He’s broody and quiet and she delights in his darkness. When they finally consummate the relationship, things get even darker. His dead ex-girlfriend, Nina, (Fiona’s O’Shaunghnessy), disagrees that death counts as a break up, and is quite vocal about that fact when she turns up at extremely inconvenient times.
Clearly this puts a bit of a damper on the budding relationship. I love how the characters deal with the aftermath, both on an emotional and practical level. Rob slowly tries to clean up his mess, and that in turns affects other characters. During his journey through grief, Rob would have weekly dinner with Nina’s parents, who express concern that he’s using his higher education to work in a grocery store. This routine continues, until he introduces them to Holly. This scene has all uncomfortable awkward verisimilitude as you might expect.
While this whole concept could be played for laughs or horror, instead it becomes a study of grief, of a young girl’s (Holly is 19) fascination with the morbid aspects of life. And connections that form unexpectedly.
This movie was written, directed, and edited by a brother duo of Ben and Chris Blaine. After working on a number of shorts together, and a TV movie (Headspace) this is their first feature. Hopefully it will not be their last.
Everyone brings baggage into a new relationship - sometimes it's a bloody mess.