A female comic struggle with anxiety and relationships in All About Nina. Nina Geld (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is a New York based stand-up comic, who is very blunt about her sexual promiscuity on stage. Wanting to escape from a toxic and abusive affair with married cop Joe (Chace Crawford), Nina relocates to Los Angeles for a new start. It is there she meets Rafe (Common), a divorcee who is all about honesty in relationships. The two quickly hit it off with each other, but Nina’s anxiety from a past trauma threatens this new relationship.
All About Nina is a semi-autobiographical dramedy from writer/director Eva Vives. On stage, Nina Geld portrays herself as a confident and strong woman, who isn’t afraid to be completely open about her sexual escapades. However, as soon as Nina steps off of the stage, she is quick to vomit as a result of the crippling anxiety that she suffers from. It is this anxiety that causes Nina to prefer one night stands over committed relationships, however this all begins to change once she meets Rafe, who is one of the nicest and caring men she has met. However, Nina has a secret from her past that she is afraid to open up about.
On the surface, it can probably be easy to brand All About Nina as merely about a foul mouthed Amy Schumer like female comic, who performs very blunt and sexual stand-up routines. However, it turns out that Nina Geld has some major issues that she is dealing with, which results in her having crippling anxiety and a major fear of intimacy. Nina’s issues are illustrated within the first few minutes of the film, as she is treated quite abusively by Joe, but ends up sleeping with him anyway. The full details of Nina’s traumatic past are not revealed until of the third act of the film, but the film drops hints throughout the plot.
Like her role in the underappreciated 2012 drama Smashed, All About Nina is a demonstration of how good Mary Elizabeth Winstead is as an actress and it’s quite a shame that she doesn’t get more dramatic roles. Winstead’s performance as Nina Geld is worthy of awards attention, even though liked Smashed, I’m sure this film will probably be overlooked come Oscar time. Another revelation in All About Nina is a career best performance by Common, who shares some impeccable chemistry with Winstead.
It also has be said that All About Nina is an even more powerful film in light of the #MeToo movement. There is brief, but poignant performance in the film by Beau Bridges as TV producer Larry Michaels and the way he addresses Nina is probably the most glaring example of passive-aggressive sexism seen on film.
While not many people will get a chance to see All About Nina in theatres, I highly recommend seeking it out, since its a surprisingly powerful film about a woman trying to overcome her traumatic past.
All About Nina is now playing at Imagine Cinemas Carlton