Monday, April 30, 2018

Talking Tribeca: Egg

I’ve had the pleasure this year of screening a number of selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place April 18th-29th.

Directed by Marianna Palka
Spotlight Narrative

Every parent raises their child in a different way. It’s not uncommon to see new parents telling friends how to hold their babies while their own parents express an entirely opposite point of view about what’s necessary to help create a safe and productive environment for development. Conflicting perspectives can also play into the decision to have a baby in the first place, and there are additional health and socioeconomic factors that affect whether a couple or individual can conceive in the first place. Such conversations are often awkward since sharing feelings can seem to impart judgment.

Karen (Christina Hendricks), who is eight months pregnant, brings her rich husband Don (David Alan Basche) to Brooklyn to meet her old art school friend Tina (Alysia Reiner), who lives with her partner Wayne (Gbenga Akinnagbe). Their lifestyles quickly appear to clash, even more so after Tina reveals that she and Wayne are bringing a baby into the world with the help of Wayne’s friend Kiki (Anna Camp), though nothing physiological prevents Tina from getting pregnant. What initially seem like minor jabs at the way they each see the world slowly turn into far more hostile conversations that threaten to have serious implications on both relationships.

This is a film that features just five actors and takes place mostly in the same location for its entire duration. It’s possible that this dialogue-heavy production would have been better suited as a play, but the use of a very artsy loft and multiple rooms within it help to enhance its setting rather than lead the actors to focus too heavily on blocking. Reminiscent of other films like “The Big Kahuna,” this is one that draws audiences in completely to the things its characters discuss and almost makes them forget that they’re only watching five people, some of whom have just met for the first time, in close quarters.

Screenwriter Risa Mickenberg and star Alysia Reiner discuss the film

A small cast like this demands great effort from all involved, and every performer delivers. Reiner, best known from “Orange is the New Black,” and Hendricks, of “Mad Men” and “Good Girls,” are superb in what could best be termed the lead roles, each having made certain concessions in their relationships that only the other woman can help them see. As the men who occasionally make them happy, Basche and Akinnagbe serve less sympathetic functions, making Don and Wayne into the kind of guys who seem supportive until they express resentment at all they’ve been asked to do. Camp, always a delight, compliments them all wonderfully as the less-than-intellectual fifth wheel. A smart script and strong production featuring women in all department head roles pays off well for an involving, entertaining, and button-pushing ride.


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