Film Review: Nancy, Please (MA15+) (USA, 2012)

nancy please

The musings of a self obsessed man-child might have been a more apt title for this film. Whilst on one-hand it could be held up and examined as a simple artful drama revolving around human behaviour spiralling out of control, it could just as easily be seen as a self indulgent, unsympathetic look at a seemingly intelligent person doing seemingly stupid illogical things.

Paul (played by Will Rogers) is a budding academic striving towards completing his PHD at Yale University. After moving out of his ex-mate Nancy’s (played by Eleonore Hendricks) place and in with his girlfriend Jen (played by Rebecca Lawrence) he realises he’s absent-mindedly left something behind. His copy of Charles Dickens novel Little Dorrit, in which lies a series of integral notes required to complete his dissertation. Retrieving this item from his obstinate room mate proves increasingly challenging and his tendency to shoot himself in the foot exacerbates things further. What starts out as a simple request escalates into an irrational obsession that threatens to ruin his career and his relationship.

This movie is unusual in the way that it lacks any real resolution to a situation that bears not very much significance in the grand scheme of things. Paul is just one of those people who is either really lazy or just paralysed by the overwhelming task of writing a plausible thesis, to a point where he’s not written a single word in two years. Instead of letting things go and starting from scratch as per his girlfriend and friend Charlie’s suggestions, he chooses to focus and hinge his shortcomings off the presence of this book. Rogers does do the character justice, as annoying and petty as Paul may be, depicting his gradual behavioural descent quite nicely.

Lawrence is very charismatic as the no-nonsense very likeable girlfriend, whilst Hendrick’s takes charge of the most mysterious and interesting character to the film, Nancy, executing her performance in a way which begs the question of who the true antagonist is. There are some elements of sarcastic and black humour thrown about, but not enough to jolt the plot from its ambling pace.

Nancy, Please prods at the boundaries of what’s ok what isn’t when it comes to social interactions and the principle of the thing, whether that makes it compelling is questionable. Paul’s constant need for vindication and his passive aggressive approach, proves grating by the movie’s conclusion. The storyline itself isn’t really the film’s selling point, but more the psychological remarks and character interaction which wavers slightly into the more creepy, horror thriller side of things.


Duration: 84 minutes

Nancy, Please official trailer below:

Nancy, Please is released on DVD in Australia on March 19th.


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