Starring: Jessie Buckley, Riz Ahmed, Jeremy Allen White, Annie Murphy, Luke Wilson, Nina Kiri
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Apple TV+ sci-fi romantic drama directed and co-written by Christos Nikou. Fingernails (2023) centers on Anna and Ryan (Jessie Buckley and Jeremy Allen White) who have found true love. It’s been proven by a controversial new technology. There’s just one problem, Anna still isn’t sure. Then she takes a position at a love testing institute and meets Amir (Riz Ahmed).
Anna: [referring to the school] They have like a lot of famous people study there.
Ryan: Really? Like who?
Anna: Oh. Ginger Spice.
Ryan: Wow. She’s my favorite.
Anna: I know.
Anna: How did you guys meet?
Garth: It was at a friend’s wedding.
Liane: We were both sitting at the singles table. It was us, an eighty year-old fireman, and a nerdy biology student. So, tough choice.
Liane: [referring to Ryan and Anna] Have you guys taken the test?
Ryan: Yeah, it was about three years ago. We were positive.
Liane: Nice. And how did it feel? I mean, when you got your results.
Ryan: Yeah, I think more than anything it felt kind of like a relief. You know, it was like a weight had been lifted.
Liane: You know, Garth doesn’t believe in taking the test. He says he doesn’t need a certificate to tell him if we’re in love. And he also thinks losing a nail is ridiculous.
Ryan: You know, we had tested positive without the extra help, and even if sometimes our relationship settles into routine, we don’t need to question that.
Anna: [referring to the noise] Can I ask, is it raining?
Alexandra: No. No. They just pump that through the entire building. Rain makes people feel romantic.
Anna: Huh. Yeah. It does.
Alexandra: I keep asking them to turn it down. It just makes me need to pee.
Duncan: The reason they come to us is to take the risk out of love. No more uncertainty. No more wondering if you’ve chosen the right partner. No more divorce.
Duncan: And that’s why I founded this institute. We were the first to buy the machines to conduct the test, and I created the program to make the bond of love stronger. We’re not here to try to teach people to fall in love. That would be insane. We’re here to try to bring them closer together.
Duncan: At this point, the test, it’s more popular than ever. So that shows that people are searching for an answer, even if it’s not the one they want to hear.
Duncan: Those are often the hardest cases when only one person is in love. Especially when the machine, it can’t identify which member of the couple is in love.
Cleo: What do we do if someone doesn’t have arms?
Duncan: To be honest, well, I have no idea.
Anna: [referring to Amir and Natasha] How did you meet?
Amir: Oh, we met at a video store. We both wanted to rent Breakfast at Tiffany’s. There was only one copy left, so we watched it together.
Anna: That’s amazing.
Amir: No. I’m joking. No. We just met normally.
Anna: How does Sally make you feel?
Rob: Oh. Well, when we’re together, I feel as if I’m invisible.
Amir: So what do you mean by that?
Rob: I feel like, normally, people are always looking at me, and I’m always aware of that feeling. Outside. Apart. But I don’t have that when I’m with her. I just blend into her.
Anna: Like Titanic? Do you like romantic movies?
Amir: No. I like horrors.
Sally: [referring to their underwater exercise] I just had a question. Is this task based on a movie? It reminds me of something.
Amir: It is. It’s based on the opening scene of a movie named Jaws. Heard of it? I’m joking. I don’t think it’s based on a movie.
Amir: Don’t get too carried away. You know, it’s difficult to make your first big love last. People change.
Anna: I know. They’re only twenty-one. You never know. I mean, it’s possible for people to change together.
Amir: As I told you, main thing to watch out for is, are their eyes open? And then how much are they moving around? How much are they still? Basically, have they drowned? Ideally, we don’t want anyone dying on us. Again.
Anna: Do you know any famous Ping-Pong players?
Amir: Not personally. No. I mean, what about Forrest Gump?
Anna: Forrest f***ing Gump.
Amir: Does that count?
Anna: Yeah. Of course.
Ryan: [referring to her working at the Love Training Institute] Did you lie to me because that training program is nonsense?
Anna: Have you ever hidden anything from me?
Ryan: Nina Simone bores me to death, but I listen to her songs because I know you like them.
Amir: You’re just going to have to get used to it.
Anna: To what?
Amir: To all the zero percents.
Anna: Did you think they would get a positive result?
Amir: No. No, not at all, really. You know, but even when you know they’re not going to get there, at least they’re trying. And it gets worse than that. The worst is when you think they’re perfect for each other, and still…
Amir: [to Anna] Look, I know you’re sad because we’ve lost Rob and Sally too, but I promise you, next time, we’ll nail it.
'It's difficult to make your first big love last. People change.' - Amir (Fingernails) Click To Tweet
Amir: [referring to the underwater exercise] It’s supposed to simulate the feeling of breathlessness. And the action of staring into each other’s eyes. It can create, I don’t know, intimacy. It’s a nice idea. They all are. I mean, once you’re reminded of it, you realize how little any of us look each other in the eyes anymore.
Amir: We’re so f***ing stupid.
Anna: I was wondering if it was possible that one person could be in love, I mean, have a positive result with two people at the same time?
Duncan: Yeah. Sadly, it’s not possible. It’d be like a six months pregnant woman suddenly becoming pregnant with another child. Biological impossibility.
Anna: Yeah. That’s what I thought too. Yeah.
Anna: Can I ask you something? Why do you work at the institute?
Amir: I mean, I like pulling out people’s fingernails. What? I’m trying to open up here. I just wanted to be there. You know? Maybe understand love a little better. Thought I did. Lately, especially lately, I’m not so sure.
Anna: [referring to the Love Institute test] I was thinking since I work there, and get a discount, that we could take advantage of it and do it again. Yeah. You know, just for fun.
Ryan: No way. That’s not my idea of fun, having my fingernails ripped out.
Ryan: Have your feelings changed?
Ryan: Because my feelings haven’t changed. You know, if anything, I feel like my feelings have only gotten stronger.
Ryan: [to Anna] What do you want? I think it’s normal to get into a bit of a routine. I think that’s the nature of a relationship.
Ryan: [referring to taking the test again and having his fingernail pulled out] I don’t know how I’m going to explain this at work.
Anna: It was positive. Why do you need to explain it?
Ryan: We’re never doing this again.
Anna: I tested our fingernails.
Amir: What? Wait. Whose fingernails?
Anna: Ours. Look, I know you’re not with Natasha. She doesn’t know anything about you.
Amir: She’s my neighbor. What were the results?
Anna: Fifty percent. So I retested with Ryan last night, and it was a hundred percent.
Anna: [referring to their test result] I don’t know what it means. I mean, maybe that, I don’t know. Maybe that you’re in love with me, and I’m not in love with you.
Amir: Yeah. I think it does.
'Intimacy. It's a nice idea. I mean, once you're reminded of it, you realize how little any of us look each other in the eyes anymore.' - Amir (Fingernails) Click To Tweet
Anna: [to Amir] I think I want to kiss you.
Amir: [after they’ve slept together] What about Ryan?
Anna: I don’t know. Sometimes, I don’t know. Sometimes being in love is lonelier than being alone, you know?
Amir: So, I’ve tested many times. I’ve never been positive till now. And, yeah. So, I just wanted to know what was wrong with me. What’s wrong with me?
Anna: I don’t want to go back.
Amir: As in you want to stay the night?
Anna: Yeah, I want to stay here.
Amir: I would love that. I would really love that. But you saw the test.
Anna: I don’t care.
Amir: You tested positive with Ryan. Twice.
'Sometimes being in love is lonelier than being alone.' - Anna (Fingernails) Click To Tweet
Amir: Maybe it’s better if you leave.
Anna: Is that what you want?
Amir: No. But what are we going to do?
Anna: I don’t know.
Amir: [after she pulls out her fingernails] What have you done? Huh? Why would you do this, huh? Look at me. I’m here.
Anna: I don’t want them anymore.
Amir: I’m right here with you.
Amir: I’m here with you. Okay? Okay? Okay. Shouldn’t have done this. I’m here with you, Anna. It’s okay.
Amir: [to Anna, as he’s about to clean her wounds with antiseptic] This is going to hurt.