Nancy (2018)

DailyView: Day 354, Movie 503

While going through Amazon Prime, I came across a film called Nancy and its synopsis sounded intriguing. What was listed on Prime was the following: “A serial imposter, Nancy becomes convinced she was kidnapped as a child, and when she meets a couple whose daughter went missing thirty years ago, the power of emotionality threatens to overcome all rationality.” When seeing that, my mind went to one of my favorite documentaries of all-time, The Imposter. Nancy, though, was a different beast though it remained very effective.

The key to the story is that we, the audience, never know for sure. We suspect what the truth is, and we can infer from what the movie gives us, but there is no one point where the movie comes right out and calls Nancy an imposter or that she truly is the missing daughter.

At first, that left me a little cold. I wanted to know for sure. I had pretty much made my own inference from the hints the film dropped, but it would not take much to readjust my thinking to see the hints from a different perspective. However, the more I reflected back over Nancy, I appreciate the film leaving it up in the air and allowing the audience to make the final judgements.

There were some wonderful performances in Nancy. Not only does Andrea Riseborough create a fascinating and complex character as Nancy, but the parents of the missing girl, played by J. Smith-Cameron and Steve Buscemi, are wonderful as the still grieving parents after 30 years of uncertainty. In their own ways, both of them are holding out hope that their daughter had come back to them. Buscemi’s performance is more subtle and guarded, showing that his character is more contained, reserved. The looks and glances that Buscemi gives tell so much of the story.

J. Smith-Cameron, on the other hand, is ready to welcome Nancy into their family and is desperate for any chance that this was the lost daughter. Though Buscemi’s character had told Nancy that he was worried about the possible disappointment for his wife, her strength was apparent and exceeded even his understanding.

Nancy is a wonderfully acted study of a woman searching for connection and a couple in need of putting grief behind them. The conclusion may not be for everyone, but it did serve the story they were telling of these characters.

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