Last year, we already got two movies with dead ex-girlfriends coming back zombie-style. I haven’t yet seen “Life After Beth”, and saw “Burying the Ex” at last years festival and thought that it was ok (review here), but it definitely left room for improvement. I hoped that “Nina Forever” would realize said potential, but unfortunately, after a strong beginning, it ended up leaving me rather cold.
It started so well. The first half or so was rather excellent. Abigail Hardingham and Cian Barry have great chemistry together, and sell their mutual, growing attraction very well. I also loved the idea of your dead ex-girlfriend coming back whenever you have sex with another woman (well, I mean as a movie concept; not that I’d want it to happen to myself, of course). It’s a great way to address the shadow of a previous relationship hanging over and thus threatening to destroy a new one before it really began, and for the first half, it also seemed to deal with difficulties of letting go, which I also appreciated (or would have appreciated). The cast was great, especially uber-cute Abigail Hardingham, but Cian Barry and Fiona O’Shaughnessy also did a great job. There’s also a lot of nudity, which is always a plus. And I just loved the scenes between Holly, Rob and Nina. How the latter tries everything to split them up and discouraging Holly from continuing their relationship, and how Holly is – at first – unfazed and assures Rob that she’s not willing to give up so easily, and that they’re going to make it work. It all culminates into a great scene at the cemetery that would have been the perfect ending of the movie, and actually felt like the ending of the movie. Unfortunately, after that, the movie decomposes completely.
In the matter of full disclosure, I should point out that this was the fifth film of the day, and I didn’t sleep that well the night before, so even going in, I was already a little groggy. But hardly was my inner watch as off as it was during “Nina Forever”, since by the time said cemetery-scene came around, I could have sworn that roughly 90 minutes were already over. Instead, it probably was closer to 50-60 minutes, and after that, the movie went on and on and on, featuring one possible ending after another, which seemed to me that the writer/directors simply couldn’t decide when – and how – the movie should end. Everything that came after the cemetery-scene, with the single exception of the great dinner scene between Rob and Nina’s parents (which should have taken place far sooner), was a huge letdown. The movie just dragged along and got very boring very quickly. Despite that, I might have given it an average rating, since the first half was so strong… but then came the twist. Now, I’m not saying that it doesn’t make any sense. It does. But suddenly, we learn that the things that I thought this movie was about (all that “letting go”-stuff mentioned previously) actually aren’t what the movie is all about. And since that was exactly what I loved about it, this rotten twist ultimately ruined it for me.