A zombie-pitch-perfect performance by Trine Dyrholm.
[Most] of the time, [Nico, 1988] sticks close to the desperate, scattered psychodrama of Nico’s last two years – the period captured, with frightening close-up voyeurism, in the 1995 documentary Nico Icon. In that movie, we seemed to be watching Nico destroy herself, but Nico, 1988 takes a more casual and, at times, even jaunty attitude toward its heroine’s proudly functional middle-aged depravity. Nico was born Christa Päffgen, and in the film just about everyone calls her Christa, making you realize that Nico is a character she’s still playing but no longer believes in. Nico, 1988 […] understands the mystique of her anti-mystique, and deserves to attract a small but fascinated audience on the specialty circuit.
Dyrholm’s performance is a powerhouse of authenticity.
Her moroseness is mesmerizing, but she also gives Nico a tense intelligence, and her singing is uncanny.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety
[…] [Nico is] also granted an inner life, a sense of who this woman was beneath the mask. She’s not reduced to a live-fast-die-fucked-up cliché, even when the story drops everything into a narrative of late-act sex, drugs and post-rock-and-roll avant-drone vamping. It’s a posthumous gift to Päffgen. Even her death, shown here as Nico leaving her house on a sunny Ibiza day, bike in hand and a colorful door closing behind here, is presented with a sense of grace. Nicchiarelli spares us nothing but still gives her dignity on the way out. As does Dyrholm, who pours herself into the role with a scary intensity and a lack of self-conscious, look-at-me theatricality.
David Fear, Rolling Stone