The idea of romantic love goes under the microscope in far-out Fingernails
The concept of love is an ineffable thing, especially between romantic partners. While movies have spent plenty of time exploring love, it’s difficult to say they get it “right” because no two situations are ever the same. The new Apple TV+ film Fingernails delves into the subject in a unique way, one that may have some couples questioning their own bonds.
Anna (Jessie Buckley) is in a steady-if-unexciting relationship with Ryan (Jeremy Allen White), but one that has been verified by science, as they have submitted themselves to a test using new technology that confirms that they truly are in love. While they believe in the test, others are skeptical of its accuracy and refuse to take it, perhaps out of fear that it would come back negative.
Anna, looking for something new in her life, applies for a job at the institute that administers the test, a fact she hides from Ryan. She’s paired up with Amir (Riz Ahmed) to work with various couples to test their compatibility. Unfortunately – or fortunately? – she finds herself slowing falling for Amir, causing her to question the infallibility of the test and who she should actually be with.
Written and directed by Christos Nikou, and co-written by Sam Steiner and Stavros Raptis, the film is an interesting exploration of what it means to be in love wrapped in a slightly sci-fi concept. The idea that any kind of computer test could verify a couple’s love seems implausible, and there are times when the company, led by the harried Duncan (Luke Wilson), comes off as a one big scam.
Still, a lot of people buy into it, especially Anna and Amir, and the type of methods they use on couples sells that belief, including things like electroshock and tandem skydiving. But it’s the actual test that takes the most faith, and it’s here where the title of the film comes in. Suffice it to say that both members of a couple must make a sacrifice to prove their love for one another, and it’s not for the faint of heart.
However, if you remove the far-out parts, the story is one seen many times before. One partner, Anna, longs for a freshness in her relationship, while the other, Ryan, is comfortable and doesn’t see a need to change what doesn’t seem to be broken. Amir not only offers something new for Anna, but seems to share a more open-minded approach in general. The added element of the test merely heightens her need to get to the bottom of her feelings.
Buckley has been a bit of a chameleon in her career, but she always manages to give her characters lots of heart. She makes Anna into someone who wears her heart on her sleeve, and it’s a wild ride of her emotions. Ahmed is a similarly empathetic actor, and he makes for a great complement to Buckley. White has an intensity, recently seen on FX’s The Bear, that’s softened here, but just enough so as not to make him seem like a complete jerk.
It’s difficult to believe that many people would go to the lengths the characters in Fingernails do to find out if they’re compatible with their partners, but watching others do it makes for a compelling watch. It’s also a warning that too much questioning about the nature of love can cause damage to one’s soul.
Fingernails is now streaming on Apple TV+