Something as small as losing a book before a thesis ends up tearing heavily on Paul Brawley, a PhD candidate at Yale University. He realizes that his ex-room mate must have it, but for whatever reason she refuses to give it to him. Paul is willing to go far to get his book back, but soon it becomes about more than just the book.
Everyone loses something, now and then, that might not be that important to begin with, but finding it would make things so much easier. Your own laziness forces you to spend time on finding that one thing instead of starting over, which both makes sense and kinda doesn't - you've already done it, why not just look for it? Who would have guessed that this insignificant little part of life would be the basis of "Nancy, Please"? I shouldn't really have liked it that much, yet I do. It's a strange feeling when you on one hand could hold things against it, but on the other hand you are enjoying the experience too much for any of that to ruin it for you.
Paul Brawley, a PhD candidate at Yale University, is close to get kicked out if he can't complete his thesis in time. The only problem is that all of his notes are in a copy of Dickens' "Little Dorrit", which he has lost when he moved in with his girlfriend. Soon he remembers that maybe his ex-room mate Nancy still has it, and after calling her many times he's assured it's there. When he's actually going to pick it up, it doesn't seem like she is responding anymore. He's going mad trying to figure out why she won't give him the book, and starts planning ways of getting the book - such as letting himself into her place and just grab it. This affects Paul so strongly that he's beginning to build up a hate towards Nancy, and his desperation is growing by the day.
While the idea of such obsession is fantastic, I am willing to admit that the movie should be as insignificant as the idea of losing a particular object. The movie doesn't try to prove me wrong, either. Yet there is something in Paul Brawley's desperation and descent into madness (a very believable madness, that doesn't go over-the-top) that just grabs you and keeps you interested. It's not a movie with great turns. I can't even say it has a great conflict, let alone resolution. But we've all been in Paul Brawley's shoes, and it's quite interesting to speculate around the entire situation. Is Nancy a complete bitch, or is that just Paul's side of it? She's certainly different and a bit difficult, but is that enough to justify Paul's hate towards her?
"Nancy, Please" doesn't mind swaying a bit outside of the frames or regular drama. It has hints of an unsettling psychological thriller, one particular scene being a dream. There's also a black comedy tucked into it all, which won't make you laugh but it's one of those situational things where you can just sense a lighter mood. So while still being pretty much purely a drama, it sways just enough for us to fear the edge. We're never entirely safe, I suppose.
"Nancy, Please" is a lot more entertaining that it probably should be, considering the insignificance of so much in the movie. That's intentional, of course, that a book with notes he could easily rewrite is what drives him crazy to begin with. It's when his mind is thinking for itself that it's actually going somewhere. It works as an interesting character study based on something that one can relate to. Also, the idea of poor communication causing things to go completely awry is not unusual with all of these e-mails and text messages we have nowadays. I liked it quite a bit, but I have no idea how it would play on a revisit since the curiousity and not knowing where it is heading is part of the fun. It's a clever, interesting, fun yet slightly unsettling at times.