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Fingernails review – Jessie Buckley carries illogical near-future romance

Christos Nikou’s follow-up to his enjoyably glum debut, Apples, is a high-concept sci-fi romance that aims for a kinship with pictures such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Her. However, Fingernails lacks the leak-proof internal logic that’s necessary to persuade an audience to fully commit to an outlandish central premise. In this case, it’s a near future in which couples test their compatibility (at the expense of painfully extracted fingernails) and relationships crumble in the event of a negative result. It’s drolly amusing up to a point, but the film leaves unanswered the key question of why people feel so obliged to submit to the test in the first place.

Anna (Jessie Buckley) and Ryan (Jeremy Allen White) are a match, according to the test. The only problem is that Anna has doubts, which only deepen once she takes a job at the Love Institute, where she develops feelings for her colleague Amir (Riz Ahmed). Buckley, as always, is terrific, bringing the picture more emotional potency than it perhaps warrants.