It is said that when we watch a movie with a true to life story, we subconsciously try to relate to ourselves. How does this affect me? What would I do in this situation? I’m not sure if that theory is always true, but I did find myself asking these questions while viewing the indie comedy UNEXPECTED.
I’ve seen my fair share of films that cover the topic of pregnancy and motherhood. Some I felt more accurately described the subject than others. I wasn’t too sure what to expect with UNEXPECTED, but after watching the trailer I was drawn in by the storyline and the calm undertones of the preview. It didn’t look like another sensationalized pregnancy movie.
On a rainy afternoon, I clicked play and was transported into the world of Sam (Cobie Smulders) and Jasmine (Gail Bean). Both characters find themselves with unexpected pregnancies, each of them with personal dreams that they must confront in light of their life’s new development.
Jasmine is a promising student at an inner-city high school and Sam is her ambitious teacher. An unlikely friendship forms as they help each other navigate through the changes of their bodies and goals. Their relationship isn’t without bumps, especially as Sam begins to focus a lot of energy on making sure Jasmine goes to college – whether or not that is what her heart really wants at this time, given the fact that she is choosing to keep her baby.
The character of Sam (Smulders), is filled with anxiety over the choices she also has to make. Will she be a stay at home mom? Will she pursue her career? How soon after she has the baby would she go back to work? She is afraid of losing her identity and only becoming “MOM”. On the other hand, Jasmine (Bean), seems to have a grasp on the reality that her plan is changing and that what is best for her and the baby doesn’t mean going off to a college away from home, but rather staying in her city, with her family and friends and carving a new road to attain her dreams of continuing her education.
During her self examination, Sam’s boyfriend (Anders Holm) is very supportive and tries to help her get over her anxieties of becoming a good mother and not lose her sense of self.
I found UNEXPECTED to be a calm look at the inner and outer dialogue of two different women going through one of life’s greatest gifts and challenges. About the changes in their bodies, emotions, thoughts, and environments – the pair talk each other through the difficulties and joys they are facing.
The film was not overly dramatic nor did it pull too much on my heart strings, as I thought that it might. But rather, it felt like a delicate exploration of these individuals’ lives at the precipice of this monumental change.
The friendship was timely and significant, but not the stuff of history. It felt real, like so many people that come in and out of your life for a season. The story moves along with resolution for each of the main characters and the overall message that resonates is one of self-discovery. By reaching out for the things they thought they wanted, they discovered new components of themselves and a life they wanted even more. They realized that the sacrifice of one thing doesn’t mean compromise and it doesn’t limit the opening of a new door.
My take away from this film and one that I personally value is that when you are true to yourself, authentic with your feelings, and willing to explore new things, you can come upon a journey that is more perfect for you than you could have ever imagined.
UNEXPECTED is directed by Kris Swanberg and stars Cobie Smulders, Anders Holm, Gail Bean and Elizabeth McGovern. It’s a fun, thoughtful comedy that is worth seeing this summer. The film is set to release tomorrow, July 24th on iTunes and Video on Demand and theatrically in Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, and Victoria.
We’re excited to give 5 readers the opportunity to watch Unexpected with 5 iTunes passes to giveaway! Please leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win.
*Giveaway will close Sunday, July 26th at midnight. Winners will receive an iTunes download to watch the movie at home.