Forget About Nick
3rd German Film Week
"A mild-mannered update on 'The First Wives Club." – Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter
The only thing that Jade and Maria have in common is their twice unfaithful ex- husband. Because of this legal treachery, the two very different women end up sharing the luxurious loft where Maria once lived, and Jade still clings to as her own. They wage a small war over a very large chunk of New York City real estate, but this is a battle in which words are more valuable, and far more entertaining, than money.
Source: German Films Service & Marketing GmbH
FILM REVIEWFrom the mundane title and worn-out premise down to the drawn-out subplots and trite resolution, Forget About Nick seems to be doing everything not to pass the Bechdel test, or to care that it is aware of it. Two women, Jade and Maria, fight to gain custody of the posh New York loft left to them by their ex-husband Nick, a Don Juan business tycoon who dumped them when they turned forty. Even though Nick appears in the story only occasionally — awfully smug and vain, aware of his control over the two women — he is the centre of the film, the reason for both Jade and Maria’s troubles and the point on which their motivations are hinged. Although they are characterised as strong (Jade is a career-driven fashion designer and model, while Maria is a single mom who has a PhD and specialises in German literature) with the agency to decide on significant matters for themselves, director Margarethe von Trotta and writer Pam Katz make the unfortunate blunder of rendering Jade and Maria’s lives important only upon Nick’s validation, showing that their fates are dictated by his decision and indecision.
It is impossible not to feel this problematic gender politics while watching the film. The apartment they share represents not just dependence on the man they were once married to but also the implied assumption that this expensive dwelling is worth losing their dignity for. This conflation of patriarchy and materialism puts Jade and Maria in a place of palpable moral disadvantage, being made to compete for the attention of the male character, an ideology that the film supports up to the very end. While others may appreciate the mainstream appeal of Forget About Nick, the catfights and dramas that happen between the two women, as well as the luxuriousness of New York and the glossy lives of the upper class, the film thrives only on the fluff and neglects the more important issues of intersectionality and representation.
- Richard Bolisay
Richard Bolisay is a writer and film critic based in Manila. His essays on cinema have appeared in various publications online and in print. He is a participant of the Berlinale Talent Press and Locarno Critics Academy, and has been part of the jury of, among others, the Hong Kong International Film Festival.
Follow him on Twitter @richardbolisay.
German title: Viel Lärm um Nick
Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Duration: 110 mins
Awards and Nominations
Tokyo International Film Festival 2017, Best Film Nominee
SM Aura Premier:
Nov 7 - 7:00pm
SM City North EDSA:
Nov 11 - 7:00pm