Hell yes, it’s timely, but it would be damned shame to have writer/director Eva Dives’ debut feature treated as worthy simply out of #MeToo support. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Nina Geld, a caustic stand-up comedian trying to advance her career while her personal life consists of one-night stands and an affair with an abusive, married cop. When an opportunity for a personal and professional fresh start in Los Angeles emerges, Nina takes it, and finds an unusual-for-her chance at a healthy relationship with divorced contractor Rafe (Common). Winstead’s performance sells everything, capturing the self-loathing that fuels everything about Nina, while Dives provides great foundational scenes like a date between Nina and Rafe that turns into one of cinema’s sexiest all-nighters. It all builds to a scene with more than a few echoes of Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, and the encounters between cynical New Yorker Nina and touchy-feely Los Angelenos feel like stuff that hasn’t gotten fresher in the 40 years since Annie Hall. But this remains a powerful character study about trying to find healing through refusing to say only the things that make other people comfortable.
Director: Eva Vives
Producer: Eva Vives, Natalie Qasabian, Eric Fleischman, Sean Tabibian, Joshua Astrachan, Greg Hannley and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones
Cast: Mary Winstead, Common, Grace Shen, Beau Bridges, Kate del Castillo, Chace Crawford, Clea DuVall, Camryn Manheim, Jay Mohr, Mindy Sterling and Angelique Cabral