‘Nico, 1988’

This look at the life of the singer whose real name was Christa Päffgen (⋆⋆⋆, rated R for drug use, profanity and sexuality) has elements of farce as well as tragedy. Both are appropriate for a story about a woman who says, “I have been on the top, I have been on the bottom, and both places are empty.” Danish actress Trine Dyrholm, a formidable presence who expertly handles her own singing as well as the acting, gives a strong, truthful, unflinching performance that powers the film and captures Christa/Nico in all her magnificent contradictions. Though the movie’s band-on-the-run story line — complete with romantic misadventures — has its standard elements, the singer herself was never standard issue, and whenever the focus is on Dyrholm’s performance, which is most of the time, it is on compelling ground. It’s showing at the Lagoon Cinema.

kenneth turan, Los Angeles Times