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Downloading Nancy (2008)



Average Rating: 3.8/10
Reviews Counted: 30
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 25

Unseemly, unsettling, and unremittingly bleak, Downloading Nancy is slickly made but mostly unpleasant.


Average Rating: 2.7/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 9

Unseemly, unsettling, and unremittingly bleak, Downloading Nancy is slickly made but mostly unpleasant.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 8,971

My Rating

Movie Info

A self-destructive housewife takes what may be her final step into the abyss in this independent psychological drama. Nancy Stockwell (Maria Bello) is a woman edging into her forties who has fallen into a deep and prolonged state of depression, finding her only solace in self-inflicted pain. Nancy has grown weary of her relationship with her husband, Albert (Rufus Sewell), and one day he comes home from work to find a note in which Nancy says she's decided to visit an old friend for a few days.


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Pamela Cuming, Lee H. Ross

Jan 12, 2010

Strand Releasing

Watch It Now



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All Critics (30) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (5) | Rotten (25) | DVD (2)

You can't really blame Bello for taking every chance available to let her monster talent off its chain, even when the opportunity takes the form of something so ill conceived and unworthy (and dull and ridiculous) as Downloading Nancy.

July 10, 2009 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some suspense arises about just how far the woman's sickness will take her, but it's overwhelmed by the pointlessness of the story.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Downloading Nancy is a nasty exploitation flick tarted up with art-house actors and psychobabble.

June 5, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For all the bad behavior on display, the emotional stakes remain hazily defined.

June 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What makes the movie a trial to sit through isn't just the heroine's pain-freak tastes. It's that a kinkfest with this blah an emotional spectrum is selling its own chic form of puritanism -- sex with all the life force repressed.

June 3, 2009 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not only does it waste the audience's time with 102 minutes of misery and despair, but it also trashes the talents of four fine actors who should have stayed in bed reading better screenplays that deserve attention and enhance careers.

June 3, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tortuous, painful, confusing, contrived. It's enough to put the viewer on the couch.

November 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Signals | Comment (1)
Cinema Signals

Bello throws herself into Nancy admirably. Yet the film squanders her talents, and what's left of our patience, en route to a finale that is neither surprising nor illuminating: Like the rest of the movie, it's misery for misery's sake.

August 8, 2009 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

A film that may be too heavy for its own good. Christopher Doyle fans will love it while tolerating the harshness of the story.

June 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

Director Johan Renck essentially builds Nancy and Albert's reality out of an aggregation of overwrought kitsch... and so what seem like occasional lapses into deadpan moments of fantasy aren't always productive in contrast. Heavily art directed for unplea

June 9, 2009 Full Review Source: SpoutBlog

Boasts a raw, brave performance by Maria Bello and a stylish cinematography, but suffers from too much style over substance. Its dull, stilted screenplay has poorly developed characters and lacks any real suspense.

June 9, 2009 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

Maria Bello and Jason Patric in a world of pain.

June 8, 2009 Full Review Source: MTV

An amazing example of talented actors doing their best to make something genuine of a complex concept but being betrayed by writers and a director who seem afraid to really let the film connect.

June 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Movie Retriever
Movie Retriever

Maria Bello's courageous performance should find critical admiration but will not be enough for this spare and difficult drama to find much of an audience in its limited theatrical runs.

June 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

A chilly, bleak film about characters so programmatic that their plight is easy to shrug off.

June 4, 2009 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

creates a deadening sense of ennui not through empathy or lived-in performances, but tedium.

June 4, 2009 Full Review Source:

A tawdry tale which suggests that in the Internet Age, if you're contemplating suicide but can't quite summon up the nerve to do yourself in, you might surf S&M chat rooms to find a sadist whose fetish corresponds with your masochistic tendencies.

June 3, 2009 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

An emotionally sterile and self-serious terminal disease drama without a moment of levity to be found from first frame to last.

June 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

More downer than downloading, in search of an online kinky rendezvous with the grim reaper. Which is apparently just a mouse click away in chatrooms these days, who knew. Adventures in self-mutilation, and sexing up assisted suicide in cyberspace.

June 1, 2009 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

Audience Reviews for Downloading Nancy

Most films that explore sadomasochism do so in ways that can still be appealing and alluring to an audience comprised of people with relatively normal, well-adjusted ideas about sex and sexuality, but this is a notable exception. The sadomasochistic scenes in Downloading Nancy are fucking brutal, cringe-worthy, and unrelenting, and Bello and Patric are nakedly committed to "going there," living the realities of their characters.
At its core, there is indeed little to this story, and we should be given some reason to hope for a different ending than what's inevitable. This lack of any true suspense is the film's major flaw. But by the same token, I think we go to independent movies to see a purposeful rejection of Hollywood's common narratives.
Overall, this film is dark, disturbing, depressing, nihilistic, and courageous - the perfect date movie.
December 10, 2010
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

First of all, this film is by no means a feel good, popcorn popping piece of cinema. It's a rather dark, disturbing tale shot in quite dismal premises to tell a story that is real, but not one people want to hear.
However, I was glued to the screen due to the brilliant acting performances by Maria Bello and Jason Patric. They portray characters whose tattered souls take comfort in one another through the internet using e-mail, pictures, and promises of sordid sexual encounters. Nancy(Bello), is a severely damaged woman due to being a victim of child abuse, and self mutilation is something that she simply can't keep herself from comitting. Her husband only cares about his virtual golf game he's set up in a downstairs room as she is suffering above. She sees a therapist, but what is it that Nancy ultimately needs?
When it comes down to it, a download can contain various information, good and bad, but it does not however contain a pulse.
August 27, 2009

Super Reviewer

A tough sit - very good performance from Maria Bello - but man is this dreary, slow, dark stuff. After a while, you just want to scream at the screen, "Just die already!". Not without its merits, but I can't imagine someone wanting to sit through this who doesn't have to vote for the Independent Spirit Awards.
February 1, 2010
Glenn Gaylord

Super Reviewer

In "Downloading Nancy," Nancy(Maria Bello) is a housewife who has been married to Albert(Rufus Sewell) for fifteen years. One day, she leaves home on a bus, leaving a note for her husband that she has gone to Baltimore. Four days later and no news, Albert has not yet called the police.

Nancy is an incest survivor who sees a caring psychiatrist(Amy Brenneman) but it does not stop her from continually cutting herself. If Albert were not so totally engrossed in golfing, he might have noticed her looking on the internet for an outlet for her pain. It is there that she finds Louis(Jason Patric).

As Susie Bright once pointed out, there is no connection between having been abused and a sadomasochistic lifestyle. So, while Nancy having been sexually abused as a child could not explain her sexuality, it could explain her lack of emotional development. At this point, she is emotionally a teenager, always needing attention and selfishly pursuing her goal at the expense of the people who care for her. Through a trippy time structure that I have seen before, "Downloading Nancy," a darkly perverse movie, makes a valiant attempt to tell her story with some success due to a fearless performance from Maria Bello.
June 8, 2009
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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