AFI Fest: ‘Nine Days’ Movie Review (2020)

Nine Days

Edson Oda’s Nine Days is an exquisite examination of the human condition. This film seeks to challenge audiences to realize that the choices we make reflect who we are. Are you someone who seeks out confrontation? Do you appreciate the little things? Perhaps in the face of endless turmoil, we are the lucky ones? Oda makes this case through the film’s narrative, which is more of an extended metaphor. Nine Days makes the argument that perhaps our existence is a reflection of a prior process. 

The movie appears to take place somewhere between heaven and hell. My guess is purgatory, but that’s never really spelled out for us. Will (Winston Duke) lives in a house located smack in the middle of wherever they are. He appears to be some “interviewer” who monitors others while questioning new souls who long for the gift of life. When one of his souls ends their life, and he’s given the task of picking the next soul to live to enter this world. 

Nine Days

While the task seems daunting to anyone, Will’s past has numbed him to the task at hand. Several candidates walk through his front door in hopes of being chosen. Their personalities range from being a romantic, an idealist, a pleasure seeker, a pessimist, and an optimist. During this portion of the narrative, Oda’s approach doesn’t leave audiences wondering what sort of personality the director favors, but it does call into question Will’s process. How can anyone decide who is worthy of life? Nine Days shows us the beauty life offers us all. 

Winston Duke is sensational in the film and deserves every bit of the award season buzz he’s currently receiving. The presence he brought to the screen left me in awe. Zazie Beetz (who plays an optimistic soul named Emma) was beautiful too. Duke and Beets were perfect choices to play each other’s foil.  



'Nine Days'
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