FINGERNAILS (dir. Christos Nikou): Philadelphia Film Festival review

In its anachronistic, alternative present day reality, a machine has been invented that will rid you of all uncertainty about your love life. Wondering if you chose the right partner is a thing of the past! This definitive answer will let you enjoy life without the worry for one small price: your fingernail.

A cute device, I wrote down in my notebook, grinning, until they showed the actual removal of a fingernail. Oh right, I remembered, this would fucking hurt. Fingernails beckons anyone who has ever claimed love is torture and calls their bluff. If uncertainty is unbearable, how about literal torture?

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’s introverted gothic sister, Fingernails employs a sweetly laid, nimble metaphor to explore both the complacency in relationships and the arbitrary ties that bind. Tax realities aside, is a test that burns the disembodied fingernails of you and your partner to confirm a 100%, 50%, or 0% match all that different from a marriage license?

Wryly funny and precisely left of center, Fingernails treats the pain of love with a charming approach that ever-so-gently pushes and pulls like a classic romcom, and mercifully dissolves without the saccharine aftertaste.

Part of the 2023 Philadelphia Film Festival, running October 19-29, 2023. 

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