Stacey Stone, Diane Mellen
Once you watch Stacey Stone's "The Nona" for yourself, you'll realize that one of the only things that was left for her subject to conquer was a documentary about how she did all that she was able to accomplish. "The Nona," tells the story of Edith Greenfield, aka Edith Fields – an actress whose work you have certainly seen yourself, and probably more times than you even realize. She's shared scenes with onscreen legends like Julia Louis Dreyfuss, Dennis Franz, Ray Walston, Kyra Sedgwick – even Michael Jordan, to name a few you might recognize more than her own. Throughout the years, she's remained a constant character in the entertainment industry. She's been in tons of shows you know by heart, like "Seinfeld," "Six Feet Under," "Days Of Our Lives," "Family Ties," "Taxi," "Murphy Brown," "Newhart" and many more, in addition to movies like "No Way Out," "Next," and even the original "House Party." Trust me when I tell ya, you've probably seen Edith pop up on your screen dozens of times without even knowing it. That's the life of a 'character actor' – you might not be the number one star billed for the show, but you're never really out of work either.
"The Nona" does a great job of explaining who the real Edith is and showing us the life she's led. From the original inspiration and her desire to act coming from seeing "Death Of A Salesman" live - to the many auditions and roles she'd go on to play throughout her career, it's impossible not to be charmed by a story like this fine lady has. Much credit goes to Stone for laying out the full details of a lifetime's worth of work in such a coherent way for us all to tune into, and of course, credit to Fields as well for recalling so many of the amazing details that have made her life and career so extraordinary. I think many of us on the other side of the screen are naturally curious about what life is like for the people we watch in movies, on stage, and on television – "The Nona" allows us to peek behind the curtain in various ways. We learn that before Edith even really started her career as an actress, she already had three children and was successful in her most crucial role as their mom. We see how things change for her over the years that go by and her desire to become an entertainer in her own way. We experience the pure joy of acting through her magnificent expressions and passion that'll outlive us all.
As I've been getting at, Fields is a serious inspiration, and it's been wonderful to see her build a life in the arts and earn her reputation onscreen. For the most part, "The Nona" concentrates most clearly on the upsides and doesn't dwell too much on the hardships of the industry, though notably, some of the very best scenes in this film come through the devastating sincerity of its main star when she's relaying the difficulties of adjusting to the way things were during the Covid era. I loved that Stacey was unafraid to add herself to this story during those moments as well, showing us some of the calls they had with each other via Zoom or Skype - or what-have-you as Edith navigated new technologies and methods in order to continue living the life she had known. Ask yourself what the alternative would have been. When you truly love what you do, you'll learn whatever you need to and climb whatever mountain you gotta in order to keep doin' it. It was awesome to see how real Fields was in that regard, and I love how Stacey was able to be a part of this story without being the kind of director who is out to steal the show; know what I mean? Stone is revealed when it's appropriate and suits the film's storyline; I've got a lot of respect for how she chose to approach her inclusion into "The Nona." You'll find Stacey and Edith make it easy to share in the excitement, joy, and passion Fields has experienced throughout her time in show business. You'll find some of the most powerfully moving scenes come through Edith sharing her regrets and feeling like she never fought quite hard enough for what she wanted to do, even though it sure seems like she's accomplished more than most ever will.
That's the thing about real, authentic passion y'all…it never subsides, and it never grows old. For myself personally, I loved seeing the rebound from some of the hardest moments we experience in "The Nona" – it's like we nearly feel like she's about to call it quits for a hot minute, and then right afterward, Edith turns ninety-one years young & she's stocked full of life again! She admits to being a 'closet drummer' and decides that it might even be high time she joined a band – at NINETY-FREAKIN-ONE, folks! Most people I know over forty can barely find a reason to get outta bed in the morning, and here's good ol' Edith, who could never find a reason to close her eyes to go to sleep - with so much LIFE to be lived still!
We see awesome shots of self-auditions she had to film on her own. We even see her eating LEMONS without being provoked or asked to, which is like, some kind of incredibly deep metaphor about how she skipped right past the whole making of lemonade - and instead just ATE the lemons this life gave her. We see her dancing, free as a bird, and loving every minute of the time she has left to spend with us all. I really enjoyed meeting Edith Fields officially in this documentary by Stacey Stone. I'm a fan of the film, to say the least, but I think I'm an even bigger fan of the life behind the lens, the boundless passion of Fields, and the inspiration she'll provide to everyone that watches "The Nona" through its reminder that we've only got so much time to do what we wanna do - and to get out there and do it to the best of our abilities, each and every day. I'm going with a solid four stars out of five and a firm recommendation that y'all have a good watch of "The Nona" and follow Edith's blueprint for happiness and a life well-lived.