Thursday, July 30, 2015

[Review] Unexpected

Unexpected is a sweet indie dramedy that contains a couple of great performances from Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean.

Samantha or Ms. Abbott (Smulders) is a passionate public high school teacher with no interest in having kids of her own. But early on, as the title suggests--she unexpectedly discovers that she's pregnant. In a humorous moment where she tries ruling out the possibility by searching the internet for information about false positive tests, she frantically cries out to her boyfriend, "I just don't know what is going on with the bananas at Trader Joe's right now..."

What makes Unexpected a bit different from other modern pregnancy romps is that around the same time Samantha finds out she's pregnant, one of her brightest (and obviously much younger) students Jasmine (Bean) finds out that she's expecting, too. The two share a dynamic and conflicted bond, especially considering that they're both at completely different stages in their lives and are both from different backgrounds. The script tackles their contrasts in a very thoughtful and careful manner, which is what really makes this film a delight.

Director Kris Swanberg--you might recognize the last name because her husband is buzzing mumblecore director Joe Swanberg. I don't mean to pit wife & husband against each other, but I found Kris Swanberg's film to possess some of the aspects that Joe Swanberg's films lack. Their films both focus on insightful subtleties and interpersonal relationships, but I found Unexpected to have more heart, soul, & emotion, as well as characters that are more endearing. There's more of a narrative drive rather than a slice of life. The film also touches on the problems with gender roles and the complications that pregnant women face during school, as well as in the workforce.

While the film feels a bit light, and it won't make the impact of, say, one of its contemporaries like Short Term 12--it's still a nice little gem to seek out.


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