Greek Filmmaker Christos Nikou Explores a Unique Approach to Love in "Fingernails"

Fingernails is a 2023 American science fiction romance film written and directed by Christos Nikou

In the English-language debut of Greek filmmaker Christos Nikou, a distinctive world unfolds, reimagining love, compatibility, and the role of technology in forging connections. "Fingernails," starring Jessie Buckley and Jeremy Allen White as Anna and Ryan, transports audiences to a reality where traditional dating apps have faded into obsolescence, replaced by an unusual method of seeking true love using fingernail samples and the precision of science.

The narrative revolves around Anna and Ryan, a couple who embark on a unique quest for love. In the confines of a laboratory, they offer up their fingernail samples, an act symbolizing their commitment to eliminating uncertainty and the risk of heartbreak, even divorce. Their compatibility is rigorously analyzed in the lab, setting the stage for their relationship's evolution.

However, the story takes an intriguing turn when, three years into their relationship, Anna yearns for more. Seeking answers and perhaps a deeper connection, she takes a clandestine job at a love institute. It's here that she encounters Amir, portrayed by Riz Ahmed, a charismatic star instructor. As Anna's world expands, she begins to harbour doubts about the entire scientific approach to love that once united her and Ryan.

Christos Nikou shares the underlying themes and motivations behind "Fingernails": "I was trying to understand what love is, why a lot of people are using all these dating apps, and how technology has changed the way we experience a lot of things." Nikou's exploration of the complexities of modern relationships finds resonance in the changing landscape of love and technology.

"Fingernails" cleverly evokes a timeless quality set in an unspecified period, allowing it to transcend temporal boundaries. Nikou, a former assistant director to renowned Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, known for "The Lobster," delves into the anatomy of human relationships with an innovative lens. The film intriguingly connects with the contemporary world through a cinema scene featuring a retrospective of films starring Hugh Grant, accompanied by a nod to one of his iconic rom-com, "Notting Hill."

While Hugh Grant declined an offer to portray the owner of the love institute in "Fingernails," the film playfully includes a tribute to the beloved British actor. As Nikou describes, "We wanted to create an inside joke that the owner of the Love Institute is Hugh Grant because he's always the guy who gets the girl at the end. And then he said 'no,' and now he's on the marquee of a cinema (in the film), and I love that." This whimsical touch adds another layer of charm to Nikou's thought-provoking exploration of love in the digital age.

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