The Blaine Brothers’ Nina Forever is really unlike any other film – it carefully blends a number of genres together in a masterful and precise way. Nina Forever is a touching and intimate story of love, loss and acceptance. But it’s also often very funny as well as very terrifying. But the power of the film is down to how real it all feels, the emotions it portrays. Putting the ghostly elements aside, Nina Forever is an incredible character led piece, which is intent on exploring the darkness that can grow when a loved one leaves you behind and there really isn’t another film like it.
The central three characters; Nina (an outstanding performance from Fiona O’Shaughnessy, Utopia), Holly (Abigail Hardingham) and Rob (Cian Barry) are all broken in their various ways. Rob has just failed to commit suicide after the death of his girlfriend, Nina. He starts to work at a local supermarket stacking shelves but when he meets medical student, Holly who also works part time at the store, things look as if they may turn around for the better. Holly has just spilt up with her boyfriend because she was too nice and too vanilla for his taste but he doesn’t realise the dark undercurrent that runs through Holly and it takes someone like Rob to bring it out of her. Holly finds it incredibly sexy when she finds out that Rob tried to kill himself over his girlfriend and tries to get to know him better. Over time the two strike up a good balance and realise they could work well together but when they go to have sex for the first time after a date, they realise that Nina will never leave them alone and their torment and grief will either get the better of them or it will force them to survive.
Ultimately Nina Forever works on so many levels, many of which are accessible to most members of the audience. Themes of love, losing those around you, trying to move on and figuring out how to sink or swim are things that almost everyone will have to deal with at some point in their lives. But this film so succinctly and beautifully explores emotion through the central three – whether it’s love, lust, jealously, obsession, rage or denial, the Blaine Brothers have magnificently captured powerful and arresting performances from O’Shaughnessy, Hardingham and Barry. They play off of one another on screen – going between scary, funny and sad and quite often managing to do all three at the same time, which is an incredible feat for feature debut filmmakers.
The colours of the film are also striking; the greyness of the world these characters live in swallows up the screen and soon becomes a mirror image for how they each feel but this feeling is often devoured by the blood red motif that reoccurs throughout. This juxtaposition between the two is haunting and necessary for the power of the film to sweep over the audience.
Nina Forever is a gift of a film for the audience because it has the power to reinvent the genre as never before – it suddenly humanises the supernatural and sees two worlds collide in the most stunning and vital way.