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The Independent Critic

Edith Fields
Stacey Stone
53 Mins.

 Movie Review: The Nona 
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Edith Fields, "The Nona"

I remember when I first started as a film journalist in the world of independent film. It was a focus I decided fairly early on when I returned to my beloved journalism and yet it was also a world that surprised me with its vibrance and depth. Sure, I knew that there were many people who lived out their entire film careers in the indie world. I'm just not sure I expected the wonder of it all. 

I thought about my early days often while watching the latest feature doc from Pace Films, The Nona. The Nona shines a spotlight on 92-year-old actress Edith Fields. There's a pretty good chance that the name itself is meaningless to you, though it's almost equally undeniable that you've seen Fields's work over the years. With over 120 film and television roles to her credit, Fields is the kind of actress that actors and actresses love because she's talented, fiercely talented, and capable of doing just about anything. 

Fields is a member of the Actors Studio, recipient of a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, and also recipient of seven Drama-Logue Awards. 

As is nearly always true, director Stacey Stone, working alongside frequent collaborator and producer Diane Mellen, has captured the wonder of Fields with an honesty, insight, sensitivity, and humor that is all too often rare in these types of films. The Nona explores Fields's vibrant, unconventional life with a cinematic tapestry of archival footage, photographs, and interviews in a variety of settings. Watching The Nona, one gets a sense of Fields and her lengthy career along with her life as a wife and mother alongside being an actress. I was not just entertained by The Nona - I was immersed in it and the world it portrayed. 

At a breezily paced 53-minutes, The Nona doesn't waste a single minute. As is often true of films these days, The Nona is touched by the COVID-19 pandemic that largely shut the world down, including the film world, for quite some time. The film becomes poignant and emotionally honest as this creative spirit begins a lonely, challenging process of introspection and emotional revelation that gives us, I'd dare say, an even deeper glimpse into how creativity serves as her way of connection and coping with the world that surrounds her. 

Fields is absolutely lovely here. She's an absolute joy. I have no idea how they do it, but Stone and Mellen have a knack for finding sublime stories worthy of being brought to life cinematically. While the film's length is just right, I could have spent forever with this enchanting and engaging human being. 

Only recently completed, The Nona is yet another rich and satisfying experience from Pace Films. I've come to expect nothing less from Stone, Mellen, and all of their collaborators. I've yet to be disappointed. Destined to be a favorite on the indie fest circuit, The Nona is an entertaining and thought-provoking documentary that I simply can't stop thinking about. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic