Nothing Personal – the 2009 Dutch-Irish drama film is written and directed by the Polish-Dutch filmmaker Urszula Antoniak. The film won four Golden Calves at the Dutch Film Festival, including the best film.
Nothing Personal follows a young and rebellious woman (Lotte Verbeek) who leaves her previous life behind when she looks at those people snatching up the personal belongings and pieces of furniture which she had put on the pavement. The moment she takes the ring off her finger, gives you the impression that she was in a relationship, but now wants to move on.
She chooses to leave her home and live a solitary life wandering on the trails of Ireland, and on her way, she meets a middle-aged educated, lonely man named Martin (Stephen Rea). They both close a deal: food in exchange for work. What happens later is that they find themselves attracted to each other, probably was ought to happen between two lonely souls.
With Nothing Personal, first-time director Urszula Antoniak (also the writer) very aptly portrayed the characters with fewer dialogues and more visuals that certainly set the tone for the film with the essence of solitude as the supreme luxury of life, and on the other hand, the need for companionship and human warmth to lead a happier life.
While both the leads prefer to live a life away from the crowd or any human contact, bruised in their past, they somehow find their way of togetherness. Nevertheless, Nothing Personal doesn’t try to suggest a conclusion but rather leaves those many loose ends as is, and gives us the option to think about a life based on our own choices.
Nothing Personal – Official Synopsis
A young female rebel and an old sage challenge each other in a story about personal freedom and attachment. She is a young Dutch woman, who after throwing away all her possessions becomes a vagabond by choice and finds the solitude she was looking for in an austere landscape of Irish Connemara. He is an old man who lives a solitary life in a secluded house in Ireland. She is radical and uncompromising. He is wise and ironic.
What connects them is solitude they both see as freedom.
He proposes her to work for him in exchange for food. She agrees but on one condition: there will be no personal contact between them, just work. Soon the two of them become curious about each other and want both: to keep their ‘nothing personal’ deal and to break it. He knows that breaking the deal and becoming personal may result in her leaving the house. For her, showing any interest in him will equal compromising her radical freedom, which she defines as staying alone and refusing contact with people. Their simple life follows the cycle of days and nights, work and rest but slowly brings the two of them closer to each other. Who will be the first one to break the deal and admit the personal interest?
Written and Directed by Urszula Antoniak
Starring: Lotte Verbeek and Stephen Rea
Cinematography: Daniel Bouquet
Music: Ethan Rose
Languages: English, Dutch
Release Date: August 14, 2009
Countries: Netherlands, Ireland