NINA FOREVER (2015)
Written and Directed by Ben and Chris Blaine
Trainee paramedic and part-time supermarket checkout girl Holly sets her sights on troubled colleague, shelf stacker Rob, who appears to be attempting to kill himself after the tragic and sudden death of his girlfriend Nina. Smitten by his dark depression, Holly makes her move and to her delight, Rob reciprocates her advances. After a couple of dates, they head back to his flat and end up sleeping together. However, in the throes of passion they are interrupted by Rob’s deceased girlfriend Nina who has no intention of letting her beloved beau go.
Kicking off 2016 with a bang (ooh er!) is British indie flick Nina Forever, the debut feature film from the Blaine brothers who’s previous work include editing school-based TV comedy Bad Education starring comedian Jack Whitehall. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Nina Forever, opting to avoid reading the synopsis (movies are always more enjoyable when you don’t know what to expect) but by the time the end credits rolled, I was utterly blown away by what I’d just witnessed. As of now, this is the best movie I’ve seen this year.
Nina Forever is a slick, black-comedy romantic horror that deals with no ordinary love triangle. Emerging from the blood-stained mattress like something out of a Cronenberg film, the titular Nina returns as her deceased self, complete with bleeding cuts and glass embedded in her pale skin, to serve as a constant reminder of Rob’s loss. It doesn’t help matters that he has Nina Forever x tattooed on his shoulder. If she’s not etched in memory or form, then she’s certainly on his skin. Her debut appearance occurs during his first act of sexual intercourse since her death and, needless to say, it comes as both a surprise and shock. When it occurs again, Rob and Holly realise that Nina isn’t going to leave them alone and thus they try to include her in the relationship but Nina wants none of it. Rob is hers. They never broke up before she died therefore they are still together, boyfriend and girlfriend, in Nina’s eyes.
Nina isn’t the nicest of corpses. She’s actually rather sarcastic and insulting to young Holly, claiming to have more experience than the youngster and that she’ll just be flavour of the month, never an actual prospect for Rob. With her throwing insults around so easily, you’d think that Holly would give up but she does the opposite. She makes a point of trying to make her relationship work with Rob even if Nina decides to interrupt them everytime they have sex. I’m sure some people out there might find that a turn on but these two are not one of them.
Determined Holly is nineteen and seems to be enjoying her paramedic training although is she wanting to become one to help people or is it to do with her morbid fascinations? Nevertheless, Holly is passionate when it comes to getting what she wants and when that involves Rob, she’ll do almost anything to keep them together.
Heartbroken Rob is damaged goods when Holly first approaches him but her love and attention shows him that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Believing in happiness once again, sensitive Rob tries his upmost best to make things work, even buying plenty of bed linen to counter Nina’s blood-stained reminders, but moving on is easier said than done.
When it comes down to it, Nina Forever is about the guilt and sense of loss Rob and those around him feel. We see that Rob even stays in touch with Nina’s parents who are a constant reminder that Nina is gone. They’re not able to move on with their lives, stuck in mourning for their precious girl who’s been so tragically taken away from them. Clutching to her memories and wishing for her back is doing just that – it’s keeping her trapped here. Moving on is the only way forward but is it that simple?
Nina Forever quite simply has to be seen. It’s clever, moving, sexy and darkly funny at times with some wonderful, touching visuals that really make you feel a part of the movie as though you’re a fly on the wall or even a voyeur. Fiona O’Shaughnessy (Nina), Cian Barry (Rob) and the outstanding Abigail Hardingham (Holly), in her debut feature film performance, have such a chemistry together that its so easy to be captivated by their unorthadox relationship on-screen. As these three provide and carry much of the story, a weak link could have broke this movie but thankfully all three are rock solid in their performances as are the supporting cast of David Troughton and Elizabeth Elvin as Nina’s comedic parents who bicker just like a long-time married couple so often do.
Sexually-charged, visually striking and filled to the brim with emotion, Nina Forever is an incredible debut from the Blaine Brothers and I’m truly excited to see what they have up their sleeves next.