nails, a sci-fi romantic comedy coming to Apple TV Plus from director Christos Nikou, imagines a future where a very specific technology has changed the world. In this timeline, scientists have figured out how to conclusively determine if two people are in love. This disrupts relationships as we know them, and couples become steadfastly attached to the test results; If they get a negative result, they end up separating. It’s a nice idea to explore the ways relationships can become stale or change over time, and nails builds on that with its dark comedy vibe. It also has a surprising amount of body horror, the nature of which you may be able to deduce from the title.
The film centers on Anna (Jessie Buckley), a teacher who is in a long-term (and test-passing) relationship with her boyfriend Ryan (Jeremy Allen White). They have reached the comfortable phase of their relationship; Things aren’t exactly exciting anymore, but they could be worse than curling up on the couch and watching documentaries every night. Furthermore, science has assured them that they are destined to be together. Things take a turn when Anna starts a new job at The Love Institute, which not only conducts the aforementioned love tests but also offers a series of lessons to set couples up for success. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, she keeps this new job a secret from Ryan.
The Love Institute is like a company founded on the principles of Nora Ephron films. The waiting room is constantly filled with the sound of falling rain because it induces romance, while lesson plans involve sniffing out your partner in the crowd, giving yourself an electric shock when they leave the room, and watching a steady diet together. of Hugh Grant films. Oh, and then there’s the test itself. If you haven’t guessed yet, it works like this: researchers tear off a nail of each person, and then place them in a giant retro-futuristic microwave to be analyzed. All of this only lasts a few minutes, but it leaves a physical reminder that the test was performed. Despite all the nail-pulling, love blossoms between Anna and her new co-worker Amir (Riz Ahmed) as they spend their days trying to help couples survive the ordeal.
Now I have some questions about the world of nails. It’s never really been clear because People give a lot of importance to this test. Married couples divorce after a negative result; Families are separated due to a simple test. Some people take it several times to be sure even though, and it’s worth repeating, a nail needs to be pulled off as part of the test. In Anna’s case, as she slowly falls in love with Amir, she questions her feelings even more because science says she ought Being with Ryan. It’s very important not to explain it because the test is the motivation behind almost everything that happens in the movie.
You need to get those questions out of your mind to fully enjoy nails — It’s also good not to think too much about when exactly the film takes place, with its futuristic love test and its very retro setting, which seems completely devoid of smartphones. But it’s worth it because it’s the kind of dark, fun, slow-building romance that’s pretty rare. The awfulness of the test contrasts with the ridiculousness of love training; At one point, a researcher wonders aloud whether setting a theater on fire during a Hugh Grant marathon would inspire an even deeper connection. And all the stars at the heart of the love triangle gave solid, believable performances that, despite a seemingly predictable setup, kept me guessing how things would ultimately end.
Ultimately, the world-building, however vague, largely serves as showcase for a simple but well-crafted story about how relationships evolve over time. It’s sweet, funny, and occasionally grotesque—the rare romantic comedy that can make you cringe.