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Nancy wants to die. After suffering horrific childhood abuse, and being stuck in a loveless marriage for 15 years, she can only really feel alive when she's in physical pain. To cope, she cuts herself, but her fantasy is to find a sexual sadist willing to take her life for her. Enter Louis, who she meets on the internet, and who is willing to serve as her sexual dominant and eventual murderer.
Louis is the yan to Nancy's yin. He deals with psychic pain by inflicting physical pain. His demeanor is calm and controlled, as opposed to Nancy's histrionics. They're soul mates. They understand each other. And ultimately, when Louis acts, it's out of love.
What makes the film is really Maria Bello's powerhouse performance. Nancy is not an easy character to like - she's a person who's so determined to die that she's lost any desire to maintain any kind of dignity. She can be harsh, abusive, cruel ... and yet the actress makes her pain so real that it's hard to fault her for anything she does. She is somehow able to make this disturbed, ruined woman both relatable and even lovable.
It may seem odd to focus so much on the way this movie looks, but Downloading Nancy is more effective as a mood piece than either a character study or a thriller, and its look is the most effective medium for conveying its sense of unvarying dreariness. One-note art direction can draw strength from its consistency, but plot and characterization need more variation, something Downloading Nancy bravely foregoes. It uses tricky chronology to build some suspense, but can only manage so much. Early on you see where the story is going, and then it goes there. The performances are better. Particularly from Bello, who swings wildly from rage to self-pity to clear-eyed hopelessness. She is sympathetic but never likable. As her husband, Rufus Sewell is also intriguing.Read more ›
This is such a bleak movie that I wish I has spent the time watching something else. That doesn't mean it's a bad movie; just beware. Especially considering it is based on an actual person, Downloading Nancy stays in your head for a long time.
Maria Bello makes you believe that Nancy's emotional pain is greater than any physical one. Some may see that as Nancy being a spoilsport, but aren't there some experiences in life that you would have to be crazy to recover from?
Downloading Nancy is gritty, in subject matter and visuals. Do not watch this if you cannot bear to see people hurt themselves and others. This film is not life-affirming. Watch it to quench your nihilistic jonesing, and then go outside and take a walk in the sunlight. Yes, you will be compelled to do something constructive almost immediately after watching it. So it's ironically life-affirming?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Characters were unsympathetic and no feeling. Wasn't expecting a happy ending or hopeful but I just simply couldn't relate to decisions that were made by the characters.Published 3 months ago by karen
I just watched the movie it was alright did not understand it though the preview seemed different. I do not think I will see it again.Published 21 months ago by Lily
downloading nancy was on ok drama. the premise is a little underwhelming. I just don't think we care enough about Nancy or her situation. Read morePublished on July 26, 2014 by Randy Leblang
Before I go any further, I will inform you that a case like this actually happened in real life. A woman committed suicide by hiring a man over the internet to torture and... Read morePublished on June 13, 2014 by Philip Scholz
Movie was depressing and the characters underdeveloped.would not recommend.could have been better. If you like self destructive characters then watch this moviePublished on March 28, 2014 by Julie L.
It came to me in a dream, that I should watch Downloading Nancy. I could not sit through this movie, and not feel numb. Read morePublished on May 14, 2013 by no name