The word of the day is “Raw.”
Ignore the basic synopsis for this film because when I first read it, I was expecting something lighter, and my expectations were fairly small. And then Nina showed up, and kicked my ass.
In Eva Vives’ incredible debut, she brings us a super timely film about Nina, a thirty…- three comedian who leaves to New York to both avoid a man she has trouble escaping, but also to pursue her career more. She is there to try out for Comedy Prime (the movie version of Saturday Night Live) while also escaping a reality she’s tired of living in.
What’s important to note, is that Nina doesn’t do relationships. In some very revealing stand-up sets, she explains how she likes to have sex, but never with the same person. Which isn’t entirely true – since she is seeing Joe (Chace Crawford), an abusive cop who also is in a marriage. She can’t escape him, as much as she tries. This is part of the reason she decides it’s time to move away.
How she sees relationships changes when she meets Rafe (Common) who is forty… two. Once after one of her sets, and after her almost ritualistic post-vomit, she meets Rafe at the bar and he asks her on a date. He wants to date her, even though he had just heard her explain that she doesn’t, he tries.
What follows is a beautiful romance between someone seemingly trying to truly support her in the first time in far too long. As he promises to take care of her, she’s taken aback not sure what these new feelings are. She is learning how to live and cope in a relationship while accepting herself, for the first time. And more importantly, allowing someone accept her herself.
On Twitter, the film is being marketed as a film by survivors for survivors. Living in a post (but current) #MeToo, and a post Judge Kavanaugh trial, this film is wonderful for our chaotic culture. We are living in a traumatic time, but crucial. How we deal with these charges and incidents will show us how to be a stronger and better community. By for once, not condemning our survivors, and by not rewarding the bastardy for once, we can grow and evolve to the world we should be.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Nina is so open and raw, it takes what she did so well in Smashed, and elevates it to an extreme level that had myself weeping. What Eva Vives wrote in her script is so powerful and honest, she must be thanked for coming forward and unashamedly being true to herself.