Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

The Surrogate : who has to share bad news with the expectant gay fathers


Queer filmmaker Jeremy Hersh’s  excellent debut feature film is a powerful story about an ethical conundrum  that really makes you question how you would personally respond if faced with an issue like this.

This is the tale of  two close knit best friends and a husband  living a comfortable life in NY who decide to make a baby.  Well its Josh (Chris Perfetti) and his lawyer husband Aaron (Sullivan Jones) who want to become parents and so Jess (Jasmine Batchelor) who Josh first met in University has offered to be their surrogate.

Ir’s a arrangement that suits Jess  well as  she is at some sort of standstill in her own life right now.  Even though she works for a Brooklyn nonprofit dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated women readjust to civilian life, she feels very unfulfilled.  Unable to commit to her very keen on-off boyfriend Nate (Brandon Michael Hall) she is looking for ‘a purpose’ in life, and carrying this child may be it.

However very shortly after she and the prospective fathers are out celebrating her pregnancy comes the news that that a prenatal test has come back positive for Down syndrome.

All three of them are totally stunned by this development and where the two men in particularly struggle to come to terms with it, Jess throws herself into researching the realities of parenting  a child like this.  She drags the men to a day center for children Downs syndrome and whilst she enthusiatically gets involved with their activities , Josh and Aaron sit there quite stunned.

Jess is desperately keen to get reassurances from anyone  that having the baby is the right thing to do regardless of the Downs syndrome.  She befriends one of the mother’s in the daycare group, but as Josh later points out, she has deliberately chosen Bridget (Brooke Bloom) as her child is one of the more accomplished children of the group.  Jess’s own mother (Tonya Pinkins), an ex Academic,  is reluctant to give her support and when Jess later insists that she will parent the baby on her own, her mother is vehemently opposed as to what she sees is her giving up all remnants of her own life to be a caregiver.

Hersh’s well composed script so successfully succeeds in avoiding all hints of make any judgmental calls especially when the two men finally tell Jess that they do not want  her to go through with the pregnancy  

The scene where Jess tries her best to persuade them to change their minds and as she senses is having no effect, reverts to practically threatening them, makes for such a powerfully emotional scene.  Full credit to both the cast and Hersh for making this so utterly compelling and so completely authentic.

They tackle all  the issues without any of  the usual histrionics and with such  even handedness  that even after the final confrontation between all three we are still kept in total suspense as what the outcome will be.

Batchelor actually steals the movie as she gives a stunning career-best perfomance as Jess wrestling with this impossible life-changing decision.   


P.S. The film is being released ONLINE on June 12th  : click to find out how to view HERE

Posted by queerguru  at  09:54

Genres:  drama

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