TIFF 2016 Review: Nelly
The film Nelly by Anne Émond is a really difficult film to try to discover, because it is a biopic that may be about a fictional character. It is a layer upon a layer upon another layer that in the end creates a portrait of Quebec novelist Isabelle Fortier that seems to be fragmented, especially in that the movie is about a sex worker that is not the least bit sexy. In fact, the film is actually a little bit repulsive, both in the feelings that it inspires and then also in the fact that it flaunts its convictions a little openly, making the viewer somewhat queasy.
In fact, the film contrasts well with Amy Seimetz’s The Girlfriend Experience (a fairly different look at a sex worker, also shot in Canada). The film Nelly does not actively j’accuse the viewer of turning his gaze upon the screen, but incidents of nudity are in no way erotic, and the overall effect feels like looking at sex through a fun house mirror. Star Mylène MacKay is outstanding.