'Fingernails' Ending Explained: Science, Fiction, Romance and the Love Tests

A world where love is no longer just a matter of the heart but can be scientifically determined with the help of a fingernail. "Fingernails" is a captivating blend of science fiction and romance, offering a unique take on the age-old question of love.

In this not-so-distant future, director Christos Nikou invites us to a world where love has been reduced to a test score. While the film may be set in a futuristic landscape, it brilliantly explores the fundamental aspects of human emotion.

Much like cult classics such as "Her," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," and "About Time," "Fingernails" ventures into the realm of romance with a sci-fi twist that adds an extra layer of intrigue to its storyline. Released on November 3, 2023, "Fingernails" introduces us to a world where love is put to the test, quite literally.

When does the Fingernails movie take place?

"Fingernails," where time blurs, and technology reigns supreme, doesn't give us a specific date. But the film transports us to a universe that seems to be somewhere between the '70s and '80s. The signs are subtle but fascinating: vintage cars, record players, and the absence of laptops and cell phones paint a picture of a different era.

However, "Fingernails" isn't too concerned with nailing down a specific time or place. It embraces the essence of science fiction, where the focus is on the story and its intriguing concepts rather than the era in which it unfolds. It's a sci-fi movie, after all, where the rules of reality bend and blend with the future.

Fingernails movie plot summary

The story of "Fingernails" revolves around Anna (played by Jessie Buckley) and her boyfriend Ryan (Jeremy Allen White), who believe they've found true love. How did they come to this conclusion? They took a medical "test" that's anything but ordinary.

This unique test involves the rather unusual practice of both partners sacrificing a fingernail. Once these precious samples are fed into a machine, it scientifically determines whether the couple is truly in love. Anna and Ryan are among the fortunate few who receive a positive result, indicating a 100% match in their love.

Despite these test results, Anna still harbors doubts. The initial passion they shared seems to be dwindling, and they've settled into a routine. It's not the same love that once set their hearts on fire.

Duncan at Love Institute - Fingernails - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

Here enters "The Love Institute," an establishment that administers the love test, but also offers training and exercises to couples. The goal is to enhance their love and boost their chances of a positive test result. These exercises include talk therapy, simulated shocks when one partner leaves the room, and even a scenario where a life-threatening fire tests the commitment of one partner to save the other.

However, Ryan isn't particularly enthusiastic about these exercises, and Anna decides to keep her new job at "The Love Institute" a secret. As Anna delves deeper into her work, she is partnered with Amir (Riz Ahmed), a colleague who quickly develops chemistry with her. The gap between Anna and Ryan continues to grow, and Ryan's interests veer towards mundane matters like car maintenance rather than nurturing their relationship.

As Anna's connection with Amir deepens, questions arise about Amir's own relationship. He claims to have a girlfriend, Natasha (Annie Murphy), but there are signs that she knows very little about him. Suspicion brews when Anna finds just one toothbrush in Amir's bathroom.

The plot thickens when Anna, during a testing session, yanks out her own fingernail in secret and tests it with Amir's sample. The result? A baffling 50%. According to the rules of this universe, a 50% result means that one person is in love while the other is not.

Anna believes that a person can't be in love with more than one person at the same time. She convinces Ryan to take the test again, and this time, they receive a perfect 100% match result. Anna decides to reveal her discoveries to Amir, triggering a series of events that challenge the very essence of love and technology.

Why Love Is a Matter of DNA in 'Fingernails'?

At the heart of this unusual tale is "The Love Institute," a research facility where love is put under the microscope in ways we can hardly imagine. The institute offers couples the opportunity to put their love to the ultimate test, or more accurately, the fingernail test. This process is a full-fledged analysis of genetic makeup.

FingerNails taken from couples - Fingernails - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

So, how does it work? Both partners in a relationship willingly submit a piece of their DNA, in this case, their fingernails, to be tested by a highly advanced computer system. This system then diligently examines their genetic composition to determine whether they are truly compatible. The idea is to strip love down to its biological essence.

However, the process is shrouded in secrecy, and not every couple decides to embark on this scientific journey. It's a tough pill to swallow for those who believe in the sincerity of their love, only to be told by science that it may not work out.

For some couples, this test becomes a critical part of their early dating phase, a way to ensure that their budding romance is indeed based on strong DNA compatibility. Others, already deeply committed, may choose to retake the test to reaffirm their relationship.

And this is where Anna, our protagonist, comes into play. Initially, she takes on a job at "The Love Institute" and keeps it hidden from her partner, Ryan. Despite their initial 100% match test result, Anna is more curious about the process than Ryan. Her inquisitiveness sets off a chain of events that question the very foundation of love.

Is Anna in Love With Two People?

Anna's job at "The Love Institute" thrusts her into a world where love is scrutinized with scientific precision. As she begins working closely with her colleague, Amir, who has been a part of the institute for years, a connection forms. But this isn't just any connection; it's the kind that leaves you questioning your own emotions.

Anna and Amir find themselves testing other couples, but it soon becomes apparent that they're not just evaluating others; they're also putting their own relationship under a microscope. The chemistry between them grows, and as they guide couples through the testing process, it begins to feel like they're testing their own compatibility.

As Anna's attraction to Amir intensifies, the foundation of her relationship with Ryan, her boyfriend, starts showing cracks. She makes attempts to rekindle their romance, suggesting romantic outings, but Ryan seems less enthusiastic about these gestures.

At the same time, Anna uncovers some troubling truths about Amir's own relationship. While he claims to be in a relationship with Natasha, it becomes clear that Natasha knows little about him, and Anna suspects he's hiding something. The pieces of this complex love puzzle start to fall into place.

Anna ultimately decides to put the matter to the test, quite literally. She secretly takes Amir's fingernail and tests it against her own. The result is a challenging 50% match. In this world, a 50% match implies that one person is in love, while the other isn't.

This revelation shatters Anna's understanding of love, leading her to believe that one can't truly be in love with two people at the same time. It's a moment of intense introspection that forces her to confront the complexities of her own heart.

However, the story takes a twist when Anna convinces Ryan to retake the test, and they score a perfect 100% match. According to the test, they're undoubtedly in love. Anna, though, remains haunted by her feelings for Amir.

Can Love Be Scientifically Proved?

The concept of the fingernail test might initially sound intriguing and perhaps even practical. After all, who wouldn't want a definitive answer about the authenticity of their relationship? However, the movie highlights the flaws in this approach, shedding light on the intricacies of human emotions.

The story unravels the shocking revelation that 87% of couples who undergo the fingernail test receive a failing score, leading to an epidemic of divorces. This staggering statistic reflects the limitations of trying to encapsulate the depth of love within the confines of a computer program.

The Love Institute, with its clinical approach to love, presents an odd paradox. While it aims to strengthen relationships, its emphasis on test results often blinds couples to the essence of love. 'Fingernails' portrays couples who diligently work to pass the test, yet their relationships lack the genuine affection that should naturally accompany love.

Moreover, the film underlines the significant irony of couples like John and Maria, who put in extensive effort to stay together despite a 0% test match, while others rely solely on their test scores to justify their relationships. This disparity raises the critical question: Should we place more trust in the results of a computer program than in our own feelings and connections?

Anna's journey is a prime example of how the test can lead to confusion and uncertainty. While her 50% match with Amir suggests that one person is in love while the other is not, it reminds that love is a multifaceted emotion that cannot be compartmentalized.

'Fingernails' subtly suggests that the test may be fundamentally flawed, that love may transcend scientific measurement. It encourages us to consider that genuine love can't be distilled into a test result, and perhaps, it's the trials, tribulations, and shared experiences in a relationship that define the authenticity of love.

How Does The Fingernail Test Work?

In 'Fingernails,' love isn't a mere feeling; it's a quantifiable data point. The fingernail test, as depicted in the film, is a unique way of determining the authenticity of love in a relationship. Couples willing to undergo this unconventional examination are required to submit a piece of their DNA, in the form of their fingernails, to be analyzed by an advanced computer system.

Nails testing of couple - Fingernails - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

The process, while shrouded in some secrecy, eventually reveals whether the genetic makeup of the two individuals is compatible. The computer system then generates a numerical result, indicating the degree of compatibility, or the lack thereof.

This method, while novel, raises questions about the role of science in matters of the heart. The process's straightforwardness may seem appealing, but it comes with complexities that can't be overlooked.

The implications of the test are profound, as it has the power to either validate a relationship or cast doubt upon it. Couples who score poorly may be devastated to discover that science doesn't foresee a future together. On the other hand, a high score can instill a sense of security and trust, even if the emotional bond has waned.

The film effectively highlights that this examination is a choice, one that not all couples are willing to make. It underscores that love cannot be reduced to mere numbers, and the human heart remains a realm that defies precise scientific measurement.

The fingernail test in 'Fingernails' serves as a metaphor for the desire to quantify the intangible. While it may provide a semblance of certainty, it also reveals the intricacies of love that evade simple calculations.

Love, it suggests, cannot be reduced to genetic compatibility alone. It's a complex interplay of emotions, experiences, and connections that transcend the limitations of any test or computer program.

What Does Anna and Amir's 50% Test Mean?

In 'Fingernails,' one of the most intriguing and pivotal moments revolves around Anna and Amir's 50% test result. This score, which suggests that only one person in the relationship is truly in love, raises profound questions about the nature of their connection and the validity of the fingernail test.

Anna and Amir - Fingernails - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

The 50% result represents a challenging and ambiguous juncture in the movie's exploration of love and compatibility. According to the test's creator, Duncan, a 50% score indicates that one person is in love, while the other is not. The catch is that the test doesn't specify who falls into which category. It leaves the couples in a state of uncertainty and forces them to confront the complexities of their feelings.

Anna, in her quest for understanding, secretly conducts the test with Amir, her coworker. The result, as mentioned, is a 50% match. This revelation intensifies her internal struggle, leaving her torn between her attraction to Amir and her commitment to Ryan, her boyfriend.

The 50% test result becomes a turning point for Anna, pushing her to question the role of science in matters of love. It highlights the inadequacy of the test in capturing the nuances and intricacies of human emotions.

The 50% test result is a powerful narrative device in 'Fingernails,' symbolizing the limitations of trying to reduce love to a numerical score. It challenges us to reconsider the importance of the emotional bond in a relationship, and how such a connection often transcends the boundaries of scientific measurement.

Why Did Anna Leave Ryan Despite Their 100% Match Test?

In 'Fingernails,' the apparent paradox of Anna's choice to leave Ryan, despite their perfect 100% match test result, forms a central point of intrigue.

Anna and Ryan - Fingernails - Apple TV+
Image Credit: Apple TV+

The film portrays Anna and Ryan as a couple who, by all external measures, seem perfectly suited for each other. Their 100% match on the fingernail test ostensibly confirms their compatibility. However, Anna's growing discontent and Ryan's lack of enthusiasm for relationship-building exercises shed light on the limitations of this numerical score.

Anna's dissatisfaction with their relationship becomes evident as she attempts to engage Ryan in activities recommended by 'The Love Institute.' Despite their high match score, Ryan's reluctance to participate reveals the shortcomings of relying solely on test results.

The irony of the situation becomes more apparent when contrasted with other couples in the movie. Many characters, upon receiving negative test results, struggle to keep their relationships alive. It highlights the fallacy of equating a high match score with a successful relationship.

Anna's decision to leave Ryan is driven by her desire for a deeper, more fulfilling connection. She realizes that their high test score doesn't accurately represent the state of their relationship, as their emotional bond has grown stale. Her action challenges the conventional wisdom that a perfect match on paper guarantees a happy relationship.

Fingernails Ending and True Meaning Explained

The ending of 'Fingernails' is far from a neatly tied-up conclusion; instead, it leaves the audience with intriguing questions and potent symbolism.

The film's ending finds Anna torn between her love for two people, Ryan and Amir, despite their contrasting fingernail test results. Anna's struggle symbolizes the core theme of 'Fingernails' – the inadequacy of science in quantifying the complexities of human emotions. It challenges the idea that love can be neatly packaged into a numerical score.

Anna's decision to tear out her fingernails is a poignant moment that encapsulates her defiance against the rigid parameters of the test. It signifies her rejection of a system that attempts to dictate her feelings and relationships. While it may be a symbolic act, it resonates deeply with anyone who has ever grappled with the boundaries of societal expectations.

Amir's response, "This is going to hurt," carries a dual meaning. It refers to the physical pain of treating Anna's wounded fingers, but more profoundly, it alludes to the emotional challenges that lie ahead for both of them. Love, in the world of 'Fingernails,' is not painless; it's often a bittersweet journey filled with uncertainty and vulnerability.

The film's ending also prompts us to reconsider the validity of the fingernail test. It reveals that love is not a one-size-fits-all formula but a unique, individual experience. Anna's choice to follow her heart, even when it defies scientific measurements, encourages us to embrace the idea that love can't be neatly dissected and defined.

'Fingernails' questions the tendency to medicalize love, to give it clinical symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments. It reminds us that love is a dynamic, evolving force that thrives on shared experiences, efforts, and, most importantly, our desires.


In "Fingernails," love is subjected to the scrutiny of science and technology, but its true essence remains elusive. This thought-provoking film challenges our notions of love, offering a captivating exploration of human connections and the complex interplay between emotions and scientific tests.

As we bid farewell to the world of "Fingernails," we're left with a poignant reminder that love cannot be confined to data points or tests; it thrives in the authenticity of our connections and the unpredictable journey of the heart.

'Fingernails' Ending Explained Science, Fiction, Romance and the Limitations of Love Tests

Author: Mary Taylor

Author/Writer - Mary Taylor

Introducing Mary Taylor! When she's not gardening or running her household like a superhero, she's a wordsmith extraordinaire. With her keyboard and a sharp eye, she dives into the world of Movies & TV Shows, crafting articles that could star in their own Entertainment Enigma.

Leave a Comment

two × 1 =