Chilean-American film Nasty Baby tackles some interesting and complicated themes with some success. The premise may seem odd at first glance, but in hindsight introduces the audience to three progressive and sympathetic characters. Writer/director/actor Sebastián Silva does not dance around an optimistic story, but instead gives us a taste of real life.
The film centres around Brooklyn-based couple Freddy and Mo (Tunde Adebimpe), and their best friend Polly (Kristen Wiig). Freddy (Silva), a performance artist preparing a piece featuring him acting like a baby, is desperate to have a child. The piece is a way of assuaging his guilt over wanting to have a child of his own when there are so many children to adopt. His art is only one example of his self-indulgence, as his emotional entitlement acts as a catalyst to the events that come to pass. The couple wish to have a baby with Polly functioning as a surrogate mother and having an active role in raising the child. Freddy’s sperm count is too low and so has to convince Mo to be the donor. Though the trio is a shining example of open-minded parenting, others are not as progressive. A deranged floater who calls himself “The Bishop” constantly harasses the couple with homophobic slurs and sexually harasses Polly one night.
Because of the inclusion of Kristen Wiig in the cast, one expects the film to be the kind of light-hearted, goofy comedy she’s known for. In Nasty Baby Wiig continues to be charmingly farcical, but in a bohemian, flower-child body double. Consequently, her character seems out of place, as if she was a caricature of a Brooklyn hipster. Sergio Armstrong’s hand in the cinematography of Silva’s realistic screenplay is rather more positive, his handheld camera-work complemented with very natural lighting.
Nasty Baby is a gentle comedy with a dark and intuitive side; it is a poignant exploration of non-heteronormative reproduction and multi-racial friendship. It transports its audience without leaving the cosy, brownstone streets of Brooklyn.
Nasty Baby is released nationwide on 8th April 2016.
Watch the trailer for Nasty Baby here: