Love is a test. Results may vary.

Romance Science Fiction Drama
113 min     5.959     2023     Australia


Anna and Ryan have found true love together. It’s been proven by a controversial test. There’s just one problem: Anna still isn’t sure. Then she meets Amir.


Manuel São Bento wrote:
FULL SPOILER-FREE REVIEW @ "Fingernails is undoubtedly the ideal title for this high-concept sci-fi flick. Despite falling short of its narrative and thematic potential, Christos Nikou still presents an efficient, thought-provoking satire about human behaviors influenced by love and technology. Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmed competently lead a predictable yet continually engaging, funny, humanistic story. Conflicting messages and a forced, hypocritical ending don't do justice to the rest of the movie, which deserved a better conclusion to its study of the complexities and power of love." Rating: B-
Brent Marchant wrote:
How do we know when we’re in love? And, even if we suspect we are, how do we know if we’re with the right person? In an age where individuals are increasingly out of touch with their own feelings – especially the one they seem to crave the most – these are pressing questions that desperately beg answers. So what should we do? Maybe technology is the answer. But how reliable is it? Can we trust it to give us definitive, accurate, meaningful results? Those are the issues that writer-director Christos Nikou addresses in his second feature outing, an excellent follow-up to his superb debut, “Apples” (2020), hitting his second cinematic home run in a row. In this insightful romantic comedy/drama, the filmmaker takes viewers on a heartfelt yet delightfully quirky absurdist odyssey in a society where amorously lost souls seek verification of the validity of their partnerships through a medical test that calls for the removal of one of each of the partners’ fingernails as a means of scientifically determining compatibility (talk about an act of commitment). And, to strengthen those relationships, the organization sponsoring these tests augments the results with a series of carefully structured (though frequently hilarious, somewhat clichéd and often seemingly preposterous) lessons designed to promote enhanced intimacy. But are these exercises proof positive of a successful match? That’s a question raised by one of the organization’s new instructors (Jessie Buckley), who has nagging doubts about the long-term viability of her relationship with her supposedly verified true love (Jeremy Allen White). The ante is further upped when she meets a fellow instructor (Riz Ahmed) with whom an unspoken but decidedly sensuous mutual attraction develops. In light of that then, can old-fashioned gut feelings legitimately trump allegedly solid science, particularly at a time when technology is being trumpeted as a panacea for all our problems, including those of an emotional nature? “Fingernails” does an exceedingly thoughtful job of examining these matters while incorporating both sublime yet sidesplitting humor and offbeat theoretical concepts that give us much to think about, qualities that helped to establish and distinguish Nikou as a director in his first film. In this offering, however, he builds upon that stylistic foundation by adding themes aimed at promoting truly genuine feelings aimed at plucking the heartstrings without becoming manipulative or sappy, creating a layered, thought-provoking, richly rewarding viewing experience. This is all brought to life by the fine performances of the three protagonists and an excellent supporting cast, backed by skillfully crafted humor parodying a number of other films and a nuanced soundtrack consisting of deftly chosen selections that definitively set the mood for countless scenes. Admittedly, the generally solid pacing could have used some tweaking in a few sequences, and the ending could have been a little more developed, but these modest shortcomings detract little from the overall quality of this fine production. If you doubt that, see this one for yourself and let your own mind – and not some technical contraption or overly intellectualized abstraction – decide for you.
CinemaSerf wrote:
No, sorry. This is just plain daft! "Anna" (Jessie Buckley) is living with "Ryan" (Jeremy Allen White) having got their certificate. What certificate? Well it's one that certifies that they are a love match! She was a teacher, but is now job hunting - so when an opportunity to work at the very facility that empowered their affection comes up, she heads straight to the office of boss "Duncan" (Luke Wilson) where she insists she would be great at "training" the couples who come to have their own relationships finessed and evaluated so they, too, can be verified. She is duly employed and paired with the inspirational and charismatic "Amir" (Riz Ahmed) - who clearly has his own secret to keep, too! What now ensues just lacks any sense of credibility and, for me, any attempts at satire just fell flat, quickly. The tests are fun, though. In a room where all are clad in just their smalls, "Rob" (Christian Meer) has to quite literally sniff out his girlfriend whilst keeping his eyes closed; another sees people charged with keeping eye contact whilst immersed in ten foot of cold water - presumably more preoccupied with not literally drowning in a sea of love! The coup-de-grasses? Well that's the crunch time when they wrench one of your fingernails - don't worry, you get to choose which one - from each person's hand then insert them into a microwave-oven looking gadget that looks like a cast-off from "Space 1999" before it announces - 0%, 50% or the dreamt for 100% - and that's bliss!. The point of all this being that it could end divorce and unhappy marriages for ever. Once in love, always in love...! Hmmm? Buckley reminds us, occasionally, that she has a fine singing voice and Ahmed is easy enough on the eye (reductive, I know - but we really don't have much else) but the story is just ridiculous, and that grown up adults would ever treat with such preposterous scenarios is just too far-fetched. It's not in anyway a comedy, and the predictable romantic elements come with way too much physical, collateral, damage. It is even almost earnest at times and after half an hour I realised why I was watching this in a cinema by myself. Nice to hear a bit of Alison Moyet on big screen sound, but that's about the height of this. He really needs to get his car window fixed, too!