×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nina Takes a Lover

"Nina Takes a Lover" is a nicely made, very slight little trick of a love story. A meditation on the eternal question of what happens to passion over the course of a marriage, Alan Jacobs' directorial debut displays intelligence and professional sheen, but the story lacks excitement and consequence. Commercial prospects look slim.

With:
Nina - Laura San Giacomo
Photographer - Paul Rhys
Journalist - Michael O'Keefe
Friend - Cristi Conaway
Paulie - Fisher Stevens

“Nina Takes a Lover” is a nicely made, very slight little trick of a love story. A meditation on the eternal question of what happens to passion over the course of a marriage, Alan Jacobs’ directorial debut displays intelligence and professional sheen, but the story lacks excitement and consequence. Commercial prospects look slim.

Told in a time-jumping manner that encompasses flashbacks and flashbacks-within-flashbacks in the guise of a journalistic investigation into marriage in the 1990s, tale charts the slow burn of an affair between Nina (Laura San Giacomo), a foxy San Francisco lady whose husband is never around, and a strikingly handsome Welsh photographer (Paul Rhys) who’s also married.

As Nina relates her story, which she insists at the outset is truly different from others,to a newspaperman (Michael O’Keefe), there are secondary glimpses of another affair, between Nina’s more reckless blond friend (Cristi Conaway) and goofy Italian Paulie (Fisher Stevens).

Most of the touches consist of lightly amusing observations about romance and adultery that are generally cute without being cloying. Neither, however, are they particularly acute or memorable, making for a wisp of a film that leaves no indelible impression save a general attractiveness and civilized sensibility.

San Giacomo has proven she can be awfully good when called upon to be tempestuous and feisty (“sex, lies, and videotape”) or funny (“Pretty Woman”), but she’s not the sort of actress who commands attention when alone onscreen and trying to be naturalistic; she needs someone else to strike sparks with. She’s onscreen by herself a great deal here, and Rhys, who’s amply magnetic, conveys a gentle nature that doesn’t bring out the zest and fire in his co-star.

For a story of a sizzling affair, in fact, director Jacobs gingerly avoids sex scenes for the longest while, and when they finally arrive, they are disappointingly genteel.

Playing a major role in drawing the viewer into the film is Todd Boekelheide’s gorgeous guitar and orchestral score. Jacobs ends up depending on it too much by the end, but the music is lovely.

Shot in S.F. and Oakland, with comfy-looking interiors, pic looks lush on what was surely a tight budget.

Nina Takes a Lover

Production: A Sharona Prods. presentation. Produced by Jane Hernandez, Alan Jacobs. Executive producers, Graeme Bretall, Shelby Notkin. Directed, written by Jacobs.

Crew: Camera (Monaco Labs color), Phil Parmet; editor, John Nutt; music, Todd Boekelheide; production design, Don De Fina; set decoration, Victoria Lewis; costume design, Marianna Astrom-De Fina; sound, Dan Gleich; associate producer, Clarisse Perrette; assistant director, Frank Simeone; casting, Richard Pagano, Sharon Bialy, Debi Manwiller. Reviewed at the Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Jan. 22, 1994. Running time: 100 min.

With: Nina - Laura San Giacomo
Photographer - Paul Rhys
Journalist - Michael O'Keefe
Friend - Cristi Conaway
Paulie - Fisher Stevens

More Film

  • Chris Hemsworth Hulk Hogan

    Chris Hemsworth to Play Hulk Hogan in Biopic for Netflix

    Netflix is in the early stages of developing a Hulk Hogan biopic with Chris Hemsworth attached to star as the wrestling legend and produce. Netflix has obtained the exclusive life rights and consulting services from Terry Gene Bollea AKA Hulk Hogan. Todd Phillips, whose credits include “War Dogs” and “The Hangover” trilogy, is attached to [...]

  • Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant

    Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant Winners

    Swedish documentary filmmaker Anastasia Kirillova and “Negative Space” co-directors Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter are among the filmmakers who will receive grants from Rooftop Films to help complete their upcoming projects. Kirilova will be awarded $20,000 to finish her film, “In the Shadows of Love,” while collaborators Kuwahata and Porter will receive $10,000 for “Dandelion [...]

  • Jim Gianopulos

    Paramount Chief Jim Gianopulos Unveils Diversity Initiative

    Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has announced that all studio productions will be required to complete a plan to enhance diversity. Wednesday’s reveal follows Paramount’s commitment to participating in Time’s Up and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s 4% Challenge. The name is derived from women having directed only 4% of the country’s top grossing movies [...]

  • Leave No Trace

    Oscar Analysts Are Sincere -- but Often Totally Wrong

    With Oscars arriving Feb. 24, we can expect multiple “who will win/who should win” columns. There will also be a flurry of post-show analyses about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and why members voted the way they did. Since AMPAS never releases polls or voting tallies, these pundits will never be contradicted [...]

  • Green Book spiderman into the spider

    On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    We continue to live in a divided world, with the current political landscape in the United States a seemingly endless hotbed of tumult and acrimony. Issues of racism, bigotry, diversity and gender equality drive the creative players as well, with Oscar-nominated films parlaying said themes into compelling, thought-provoking cinema. To analyze 2018 in big-screen entertainment, [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • 'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: Early Reviews

    'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: 'The MCU Feels More Complete'

    “Captain Marvel” is soaring following advanced press screenings on Tuesday. Reactions from early showings have hit Twitter, and audiences are keen on Marvel’s first female-led standalone movie. Critics are praising Brie Larson’s performance as Carol Danvers, the nostalgic ’90s setting, and the cosmic sci-fi elements. Goose, Danvers’ cat, is also getting a lot of attention from [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content