Amnesic romances have been explored plenty in the comedy realm, from Overboard (the 1987 original and the 2018 remake) to 50 First Dates. However, it’s incredibly rare to see such a subdued and dramatic take on the trope like is depicted in Nobody Has To Know.
When Phil (Bouli Lanners) a farm worker in Scotland suffers a stoke and retrograde amnesia, he has to fall in love with Millie (Michelle Fairley), the head farmer’s daughter, as if it was the first time. The premise is ripe for dramatic and emotional outburst, but director Bouli Lanners opts to put the audience in the same quiet, contemplative state as Phil and Millie.
It’s a decision that largely pays off, with enough longing gazes and tenderly embraces to melt the heart of even the biggest cynics. Despite its title, everyone should know about this independent gem.
The Silver Lining
Nobody Has to Know is a pure acting showcase for lead actress Michelle Fairley. There is a mournful passion to Fairley’s performance that presents itself in the smallest expressions; a single tear, a glance of sorrow, a hug that lasts a second longer than usual. If Lanners’ feature was to be released this year, Fairley should have been a part of the Oscar conversation for this devastating performance.
Nobody Has to Know is a part of the Chicago International Film Festival’s 2021 lineup. Buy your tickets for the in-person (Fri, Oct. 22) or virtual (now until Oct. 24th) screenings now!