A Double Feature Review!
This high-anxiety, get under your skin, dark comedy feature is a brilliant film debut from writer-director Emma Seligman. Shiva Baby is an indie gem, while actor Rachel Sennott is a marvel throughout. Initially, the story structure is set up to be pretty simple — Danielle (Sennott) is a directionless young bisexual Jewish woman who attends a shiva with her family. Danielle is attending college but cannot figure out her degree and also has a sugar daddy (Danny Deferrari) on the side. This is where the story becomes tangled into a paranoia-infused comedy — Danielle's sugar daddy, Max, unexpectedly shows up to the shiva with his wife (a cunning Dianna Agron) and baby daughter. Danielle is shocked to find out that Max is married, while she also encounters her ex-girlfriend, Maya (a strong Molly Gordon) at the wake. The film's tension is claustrophobic, while Danielle's emotions become more and more unraveled throughout a chaotic series of events. Shiva Baby was originally shot as a short film by Seligman and Sennott back in 2017. Now, years later, Seligman's anxiety-inducing feature has come to fruition. Shiva Baby is a 77-minute movie that's both funny and nerve-wracking at the same time. Seligman's film also gives us a fresh perspective on personal experiences and bi representation on the screen. From the repetitive stringed attack of Ariel Marx's musical score to Seligman's tight direction and Sennott's acting chops, Shiva Baby is the whole package that's waiting to be opened. Through personal growth and passive-aggressive vibes, Seligman's Shiva Baby is a stroke of genius.
Shiva Baby is available to rent VOD at Google Play, Vudu, Amazon, Apple TV, and YouTube.
Shiva Baby is Not Rated (NR).
Directed by Emma Seligman
Starring Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, Polly Draper, Danny Deferrari, Fred Melamed, Dianna Agron, Jackie Hoffman, Sondra James, and Deborah Offner.
Together Together is a sweet film exploring love and parenthood from a platonic lens. After experiencing loss ourselves, this was a healing movie to see. After a year of being unable to go to the theaters, it felt great going to the movies again. Glynis and I were able to see this wonderful little movie at our favorite theater in St. Louis, the Hi-Pointe Theatre. So please, get your vaccine, and we'll see you at the movies. Together Together offers a simple setup that grows deeper and warmer as the movie unfolds. Together Together has a beating heart full of the beauty and the personal struggle of parenthood. Writer-director Nikole Beckwith's indie film was a healing experience for me to see on the big screen. Our story follows Matt (a strong Ed Helms), a single man in his 40s who wants a child. Matt hires a young 26-year-old loner named Anna (a perfect Patti Harrison) as the gestational surrogate for his child. Harrison, a transgender actress cast in a cisgender role, allowed Beckwith to break away from the normal rom-com tropes. This subversion gifted the viewer with a talented Harrison to fully embody Anna on the big screen. She is simply perfect for the role. While her and Helms chemistry throughout the picture shined brightly.
During the pregnancy, Anna and Matt's bond grows, but the two begin to realize this unexpected relationship will quickly challenge their perceptions of love. What part of their connection crosses the boundaries into uncharted territory. It's a platonic lens that Beckwith layers throughout the film allowing the viewer to see a different meaning in the word love, beyond the physical aspect. Can Matt and Anna have weekly dinners together? Can Anna spend the night over at Matt's? Can Matt hold hands with Anna, sitting on a park bench and eating candy? These are all situations that Matt and Anna have to address and work through. The beauty of Together Together is seeing Matt and Anna's bond form and bloom through this platonic angle, capturing what it means to be human. This experience will help Anna afford to go to college, earning a degree she's always wanted, while also gifting Matt with a child he has always wanted. Together Together is a sweet and joyful film that sticks with you long after the credits end.
Together Together is now playing in theaters.
Together Together is rated R (Restricted). Language | Some Sexual References.
Directed by Nikole Beckwith
Starring Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Tig Notaro, Julio Torres, Anna Konkle, Sufe Bradshaw, Rosalind Chao, and Timm Sharp.
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