A documentary showcasing the remarkable journey and career of successful American actress Edith Fields, this is Stacey Stone’s The Nona.
Stacey Stone first made her mark with the acclaimed documentary “Man Behind 55,000 Dresses” that we reviewed back in 2015. Since then, she has gone from strength to strength and her subjects have run the gamut from war to politics, to obsessions to animation, and now to an individual’s performance career. Stone has directed several war-themed documentaries exploring the psychological effects of conflict; “My Own War” examined PTSD among veterans, and “Gander: America’s Hero Dog.” told the heart-warming story of a service dog who helped veterans heal. “Unaccountable” and “Toxic Sh!t” were about the effects of pollution, while “Golden Rule” looked at a nuclear incident. All of these films got great reviews from us here at Screen Critix, so all come highly recommended.
For The Nona, we are treated to a captivating and motivational story about the extraordinary life and career of esteemed American actress Edith Fields. A name that you may not be familiar with, but a face that has appeared regularly on American TV and in some of America’s biggest shows.
Despite being in her nineties, Fields’ unwavering dedication to her craft shines through. Director Stacey Stone skilfully crafts a narrative that immerses viewers in Fields’ world, from her humble upbringing in Poughkeepsie, New York to still regularly booking jobs today. From the first minute, we are taken on a comprehensive journey through her remarkable achievements.
Fields, as she should, takes centre stage in this documentary, and her cheerful and grounded personality becomes the heart and soul of the 51-minute running time. Through a series of insightful interviews, we gain access to her experiences and milestones. One particularly compelling moment is when she reveals how her passion for acting was ignited by the influential play “Death of a Salesman.” It’s personal anecdotes like this that allow us to connect with Fields as she shares both triumphant and tragic moments, including encounters with world-renowned actors and actresses.
We are particularly moved by her reflections on the difficulties she faced, with the loss of her husband, and the challenging times brought on by the COVID-19 lockdown. The raw emotions captured through webcam scenes during a lockdown interview between her and the director are deeply poignant, evoking memories of the collective determination we all endured during those trying times.
In addition to the interviews, the film showcases Fields out-and-about during her daily life, as well as scenes that beautifully depict her vibrant spirit and unwavering passion for life, further enhancing our admiration for her. Clips of her work in some of America’s most prominent television shows, including “NYPD Blue,” “Seinfeld,” “Picket Fences,” and “Six Feet Under,” serve as a testament to her talent and versatility as an actress. Director Stone utilizes photographs to chronicle different stages of Edith’s life, alongside newspaper articles that highlight her numerous acting accolades and awards. Through the skillful incorporation of editing techniques, webcams, close-ups, two shots, and exterior filming, the visual storytelling takes on a distinctive and engaging quality.
The documentary culminates with an advert that sees Edith starring alongside sports superstar Michael Jordan and (at the time recent) Oscar winner Cuba Gooding JR, showing just how high her star actually was.
Stone’s own directing career is on a trajectory that can only be described as stratospheric and it can’t be too long before we see her credited on our TV and cinema screens regularly very soon, because every film she makes improves on the last one and her previous documentaries are already excellent. The Nona is another cracker – a masterfully crafted film that leaves us moved, inspired, and uplifted.