A pleasant examination of modern life in a particularly gentrified neighborhood, Nasty Baby will be marked as a real surprise piece in this year’s Berlinale. Up-and-coming actor/director Sebastian Silva turns what seems destined at the outset to be a stultifying politically correct indie about a gay male Brooklyn couple into a much darker and heartfelt story.
The director co-stars here as Freddy, a video installation artist who’s soon informed that he should give up trying to help impregnate close friend Polly (Kristin Wiig). This thrusts Freddy’s partner Mo into the driving seat as the next most viable option, creating a tension among the three that is at times satirical and definitely honest and identifiable. An easy-watching work, it is not until other characters from around the neighborhood come wandering into the plot that the film is able to clutch at its greater themes of friendship and impending parenthood.
The on-screen connection between Silva and Wiig is especially strong; you almost immediately warm to their characters. Contemporary tales of life in New York have recently been trending subject matter, particularly through the medium of television, and it’s this originality and grit in the dialogue that allows the audience to involve themselves in the film and really identify with the cast.
Silva’s musical background flourishes throughout the film with some real indie gems to be found. The unsteady, quasi-home video quality of the proceedings is initially uninviting, but it becomes less grating, however the night and darkly lit scenes remain problematic.
Nasty Baby is all about appeal, tentative drama ready to be shattered by Silva’s searching curiosity. It is a film that will make you laugh, make you cry, and leave you hyperventilating in its final moments.
Nasty Baby does not have a UK release date yet.
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