TThere’s guts here, both figuratively and literally, in the ambitious new thriller False Positive, a minor A24 production premiering on Hulu in the US, that takes a familiar roadmap and fills it with left turns. . Simply put, it’s a riff from Rosemary’s Baby for millennials, a stylish update on an ever-effective conceit that reframes the happiness of pregnancy as terrifying body terror. Roman Polanski’s film gave birth to numerous imitators, most of whom stuck to the increasingly used blueprint and there is something to be admired here about what writer-director John Lee and his co-writer and star Ilana Glazer are trying to do, even if your bet isn’t worth it entirely.
Glazer, who continues to be best known for co-creating and starring in Broad City, takes a dramatic leap forward here (something her partner in crime Abbi Jacobson did with poise in the grim 2018 addiction drama 6 Balloons) and until the movie asks too much. of her, or possibly any actor, in the frenzied finale, makes a compelling case for more work outside of his comic wheelhouse. She plays Lucy, a woman struggling to conceive, whose husband Adrian (Justin Theroux) takes her to see an expert in the field, Dr. Hindle (a fit Pierce Brosnan), an in-demand fertility expert, and a old friend. and his mentor. In a few sessions, Lucy finds herself pregnant, a miracle, but carrying with her the nagging feeling that something is wrong.
It’s always a bit jarring the first time a traditional comedy actor suddenly appears in more serious territory, as if you’re watching an SNL parody that has yet to reveal its true meaning. But the haunting, elevated world of False Positive, which takes light satirical jabs at everything from the media workplace to mom culture, benefits from someone with that background, Glazer as a performer managing to master the tune shifts. , even if Glazer, the writer, has difficulties. To keep things so quiet
The first act is deceptively well calibrated, countering the setting’s vague familiarity with something less explored: the growing frustration of being a woman at the mercy of men at a time when one should feel more in control of one’s own life. own body. First at work, where Lucy is frequented by #NotAllMen sexists who wear flannel shirts and then at Dr. Hindle’s clinic, where she begins to realize that she is not allowed much, if any, agency with her pregnancy and then finally home by a husband whose idea of her as mother and wife is not aligned with hers. But how much of what is happening to Lucy is real and how much is the result of “mom’s brain”? Those around her put their fears aside as a form of hysteria, as people often do with women, and the film works best when exploring this particularly egregious form of misogyny, something that was most recently explored in the book Sick Women, how the patriarchy of medicine has not only been harmful to the mind, but also physically dangerous.
This comes to a head with a devastating decision Lucy has to make and one that is very well explored, both for how it affects their relationship and how it affects her psyche, but once it’s done, Lee’s movie gets stuck in the dark. second gear, a collection of hits and misses visions of different creepy most of the time, and while there are effectively intertwined rage-inducing microaggressions, the smoldering is sometimes a bit too slow. The unstable surrealism of some of Lee’s settings and storytelling is often confusing and takes us away from the film’s main emotional drive, even as Glazer bravely tries to lure us back. Things really fall apart in the end though, as too many great ideas are thrown at the wall, none of them really stick. There is a half-hearted attempt to comment on race along with gender, but it’s too clumsy to have an effect (it’s theoretically smart, but in practice, it’s embarrassingly off-target) and a foolish predictable last act reveal leads to a wild ending that deserves Some The merit of being a great swing but failing so spectacularly is truly maddening.
As the film draws to a conclusion, the initial promise fades, the film has the feel of a brave, but misguided, post-Get Out attempt to infuse social commentary within the framework of well-spent genre territory, aiming high. but landing low. The false negative is full of possibilities but ultimately not much more.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism