Nowhere movie review & film summary (2023)

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Castillo plays Mia, the very pregnant partner of Nico (Tamar Novas). We meet the couple already on the run from a country in violent crisis. They hide from dogs and helicopter spotlights in a cargo yard before entering one of the shipping containers, bound for freedom. Of course, the journey doesn’t go well, and the couple ends up split up into two separate containers. Nico goes off to what looks like it will be a violent end while Mia is stuck with a bunch of strangers before their vessel is captured by soldiers and, well, everyone but Mia ends up murdered. Before you know it, Mia is literally adrift in the ocean with few supplies and no way to get home. And then she goes into labor.

“Nowhere” is at its best when it’s at its most deliberate—Mia trying to pry open the roof, figuring out how to fish, etc. These are easily relatable beats that fit the most basic of survival tale tenets: Allowing us to ask ourselves how we would act in the same situation. Could we figure out how to survive for an unknown amount of time in the middle of nowhere? Would we just cry and wait for death? The added dynamic of a newborn child shifts the stakes from a traditional survivor’s story. Mia isn’t just trying to keep herself alive, she’s fighting for her baby, a fact made more poignant by the fact that she already lost a child before all of this drama started.

Director Albert Pinto gets everything from Castillo, an actress who first seems a bit overly mannered (it’s really just the clunky dialogue of the opening scenes) but really settles in nicely after she gives birth and becomes a force of survival instinct. The suspension of disbelief for a movie like this one gets a nice elevation from the maternal hook. We’ve all heard those stories about mothers lifting cars to save their children. Castillo sells the idea that giving up isn’t an option more for her child than herself.


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