Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
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Director: Christina Choe
Presented by: Christina Choe
Starring: Steve Buscemi, J. Smith-Cameron, Ann Dowd, John Leguizamo
2018, USA, 87 Minutes, DCP
Nancy, a 30-something loner played with incredible restraint by Andrea Riseborough, is a pathological liar who seeks connection with people under false pretenses. Her only lasting human connection is with her overbearing mother (Ann Dowd). We first encounter the extent of Nancy’s lies when she pretends to be pregnant to lure a depressed father out from behind his internet avatar. After the truth is revealed and this situation implodes, Nancy comes across a news story of two desperate parents whose daughter disappeared 30 years ago. She immediately sees an opportunity and maybe even convinces herself that she could in fact be their long lost daughter. Nancy reaches out to Ellen and Leo, the wounded parents of the missing girl, played by J. Smith-Cameron and Steve Buscemi respectively (both in wonderfully understated performances). The hopeful couple quickly finds themselves ensnared by the promise that this mysterious woman may just be their long lost daughter. She’s the right age and she bears a striking resemblance to the digitally aged photo that local authorities are circulating, but something just doesn’t seem quite right about Nancy.
Christina Choe, an MdFF 2012 Opening Night Shorts alum with her film I Am John Wayne, returns to the fest with this stunning feature debut. The film premiered at Sundance 2018, where the director/screenwriter took home the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Choe has said in interviews that she set out to create a morally ambiguous female anti-hero in Nancy and she succeeds mightily with this complex and brooding character study of a troubled woman seeking connection through fabricated histories. (Scott Braid)
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