Nancy is as complicated a protagonist as we’ll meet in a movie, and perhaps only an indie movie like this could pull it off. Between online forums and meeting strange men in diners, Nancy weaves a story about lost and/or current pregnancies, and it’s unclear if (and perhaps unlikely that) any of it ever happened.
After years of taking care of her mother, Nancy (Andrea Riseborough) is at odds when she dies suddenly, leaving Nancy alone in a house she hates, and shards of a life she mostly resents. One night, she hears a story on television about a little girl, Brook, who disappeared 30 years ago. An inkling is all it takes, and soon Nancy is contacting and visiting Leo (Steve Buscemi) and Ellen (J. Smith-Cameron), the little girl’s parents, believing or half-believing or half-willing herself to be the kidnapped child, now grown up.
The only person who wants it to be true more than Nancy does is Brook’s mother, Ellen. Leo is much more skeptical, and admits they’ve had false hopes before. A DNA test is quickly procured but as they await the results, Nancy movies in and cozies up and Ellen can’t help but get attached. Ellen has been a mother without a child for 30 long years; she’s got a spot underneath her wing that’s Nancy-sized, to say nothing of the hole in her heart.
The psychology of this movie is fascinating. It really explores the depths and nature of intimacy. Riseborough is fantastic. She’s got a haunted look about her; there’s a back story that’s simply implied in her downcast eyes, her uncombed hair. Smith-Cameron is also exceptional. Her shakiness and fragility are evident in every quaking breath. Her need is enormous. A talented cast really makes this story, well-crafted by writer-director Christina Choe, come alive.