NINA TAKES A LOVER tells the story of a journalist (Michael
O'Keefe) who is interviewing people about love and infidelity in the
90s. Among the people he interviews is the central character of the
show, Nina (Laura San Giacomo), her friend (Cristi Conaway), and Nina's
lover, a photographer (Paul Rhys). They each tell the stories of their
affairs to the journalist while sipping espresso in a quaint coffee
shop in what appears to be San Francisco.
Nina's friend's lover (Fisher Stevens) is a guy with a scruffy
beard who makes perfect espresso at another coffee place. This is
definitely a 90s movie. We have heavy drinking in half of the scenes,
and it is all great coffee. The 50s movies featured beer drinking
regular guys. The 60s flicks were filled with young people doing
drugs. In the 70s we had cocktails and certainly in the 80s we saw
lots of wine, especially white wine as the beverage of choice. I guess
with the 90s here, rather than having characters being plastered and
passing out, we will have them wired and hyperactive. But I digress.
NINA TAKES A LOVER is a movie where not much happens and the tone
of it all is highly subdued which is reflected in the dreamy music.
Overall, this can be a very soporific movie so don't go to the 9:30
showing. I would expect that the reaction of most people seeing this
movie will range from mild boredom to a mild rapport with the
characters. It is not a movie that is easy to get excited about or to
Laura San Giacomo who was so wonderful, as was everyone else, in
SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE, plays a fairly reserved lover in this movie.
Her husband goes out of town for three weeks so she get bored and looks
to find a lover. Her married friend is ahead of her and already has
hers. Spouses are not visible or talked about much--romance is.
The script and the directing were done by Alan Jacobs who needed
to put more oomph in both. I like the characters he created, but I
kept hoping in vain for them to come alive. Jacobs seemed interested
in creating a mood piece with a message. He succeeded in the former
although I wish he had more ambitious goals, and he failed in the
The cinematography by Phil Parmet was a little unusual. In order
to emphasis the separateness of people in a relationship he was
constantly filling the frame with one person and then panning over to
the other. It was a technique I could have done without.
The script makes an attempt at a big switch towards the end of the
movie. I did not like nor buy this part at all. It felt as if they
had gotten bad scores when test marketing the show, and they tacked on
the changes as an attempt to make the movie more involving and to wake
up the audience.
Copyright © 1995 Steve Rhodes