Natural Selection - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Natural Selection Reviews

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Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ March 18, 2012
Noticing her husband Abe(John Diehl, of "The Shield") at full mast in bed one morning, Linda(Rachael Harris) tries to initiate things but he stops her solid with a little prayer, feeling that sex should not done just for pleasure, as she is not able to conceive. At least, she can confide in her brother-in-law and church pastor, Peter(Jon Gries, of "The Pretender"). At least, Abe can masturbate in the privacy of donating sperm until he has a stroke while stroking off. As things do not look good for him, Linda promises him to bring back his biological son, Raymond(Matt O'Leary), before it is too late. Of course, their first meeting does not go as she imagined it...

"Natural Selection" is an engaging movie that in gentle and occasionally amusing tones manages to respect the beliefs and actions of its characters.(Although one could say that maybe Abe's stroke was divine punishment.) As much as it is about religion, one of the movie's central themes is birth and rebirth, especially in its opening scene, as this is the first time Linda is really away from home, as rules become less and less important as time goes on. Another way of looking at it is how children can wreck your life. So, while the movie is a little predictable at times in following the rules of the road movie, it also does not take the easy way out, especially at the end.
½ February 11, 2014
A quirky coming of age story for someone old enough to be your mother! The chemistry between 2 polar opposites (Rachael Harris and Matt O'Leary) is what made this film brilliant!
January 25, 2013
Debuting director Robbie Pickering shows exceptional promise with Natural Selection, his knockout first feature, a film that springs remarkable surprises on a bare-bones budget. Rachel Harris is all kinds of amazing as Linda White, a real-life Texas housewife, but without the flamboyant appearance. Linda has spent years being a faithful and loyal Christian wife to husband Abe (John Diehl, terrific). Abe however is an unmitigated hypocrite who hasn't had sex with Linda since she was diagnosed as infertile, because apparently it's sinful to spill your seed when it's impossible to impregnante the woman. So just imagine Linda's reaction when Abe has a stroke. While jerking off at a Houston sperm bank, something he's been sneaking off to do for years. With Abe on the verge of dying Linda tracks down one of the results of Abe's donations, and she finds Raymond (Matt O'Leary), an escaped convict in Tampa, Florida, avoiding cops as well as soap and water. Thus begins the road trip with Linda driving Raymond back to Texas with her to meet daddy. It's these scenes that become the heart of the film, working wonderfully from Pickering's own screenplay which avoids trite cliches. No fair spoiling the surprises, including Linda's bitch of a sister, Sheila (Gayland Williams) and her minister husband (Jon Gries), whose long had a crush on Linda. The chemistry between Harris and O'Leary is extraordinary, two actors alert to the curveballs the script tosses. The scene of the two breaking into a diner and having it out emotionally is one of a kind, and a testament to Pickering's talents. O'Leary is great as an introvert opening up for the first time, but Harris is Natural Selection's MVP. Best remembered as Ed Helms' ball-busting fiancee in The Hangover, Harris is superb. She knows Linda down to her fingertips and never once looks down on her faith, whether in God or herself. It's a terrific performance in a most wonderful film.
½ March 16, 2012
Between a 6/10 and 7/10, It'd be easy to thread this story through with condescension, but instead, it's modest and compassionate, a midlife awakening for a woman long out of touch with her own needs.
½ June 10, 2015
Robbie Pickering's movie is truly odd. Whether it is the filmmaker's intention or simply accidental that it is so odd is not clear. Essentially it feels like it wants to be a twisted comedic "road trip" movie that veers so far off the road that it approaches being an eccentric character study. The problem is that NATURAL SELECTION fails to achieve either fully. But there is some sort of perplexing tone that makes it surprisingly interesting. I would rate this at the "3 Star" level, but Rachel Harris is so amazing in her role that she almost raises this movie to the level of experimental art. Rachel Harris has always stood out in anything she does, but here she is allowed to fully take command as the film as the leading character. She finds incredible ways of translating the "unbelievable" to "reality" -- In many ways, this movie is worth seeing because of what she does. Matt O'Leary's exceptional work should also be noted. While I think this film is more curiously interesting than rewarding entertainment -- it is Harris and O'Leary who transform the whole mess into something unexpected and surprising. As for Robbie Pickering, I am looking forward to see what he does with his still unreleased next film. He may prove to be an important and unique voice. ...or not.
January 15, 2015
A wonderful little film. Lots of different kinds of love in strange places. Rachel Harris rules. Hey, look, it's Uncle Rico!
½ July 31, 2014
year s/b 2011 not 2012
½ May 7, 2014
Never perfect, but full of tremendous performances, this film offer real depth and goes in unexpected places.
½ March 1, 2014
It was so so. At the beginning it looked as if it might be very good, but then the story was a little odd and could have been designed better. Plus I wanted to meet the real son in the film, and I never did.
½ February 11, 2014
A quirky coming of age story for someone old enough to be your mother! The chemistry between 2 polar opposites (Rachael Harris and Matt O'Leary) is what made this film brilliant!
May 8, 2012
I was drawn to this because of the two leads. I'm used to seeing Rachel Harris as a witty tv comedian, and as for Matt O'Leary, I remember him as Gary Giggles from the Spy Kids movies and from Frailty, the creepy Bill Paxton movie. And on that regard, both of them delivered, Raymond is a super complex character, and O'Leary handled it well. The whole thing really belongs to Harris though. I thought she was fantastic. Her character had such a clear arc and story and I really enjoyed watching her. The overall story is interesting, and while there are some pacing issues, and there are a couple off the wall plot points, it held my attention for the most part. Also, the ending is really satisfying. It was the most realistic and it totally works. Not a bad indie dramaedy if you're looking for one.
August 28, 2013
Interesting!!! Pretty good
½ August 16, 2013
"Natural Selection" presenta fascinantes y complejos personajes pero la cinta no sabe, del todo, que hacer con ellos. Linda White (Rachael Harris) es una esposa devota quien aguanta un matrimonio sin sexo debido a las creencias religiosas de su marido hasta que un dia se da cuenta que él ha hecho depósitos en un banco de esperma por mas de 25 años.
"Natural Selection" contiene actuaciones comprometidas (en especial de Harris) y momentos intensos y humanos pero al final nos deja con una sensación de vacío. Es una pelicula que finalmente no puede contener a sus interesantes creaciones.
½ July 26, 2013
I thought this was funny. Cute. Not great, but cute.
½ January 11, 2013
Cool film with a central character that you can really get behind. Sort of an indie black comedy at times and a feelgood road movie at others.Great performance by the two main actors.
½ June 10, 2013
It's a shame this movie has gone fairly unnoticed since Rachael Harris turns in a pretty tremendous performance as this repressed woman whose husband has refused to have sex with her for 20+ years since she isn't able to have children. Abe, her husband believes, that since Linda cannot have children then they shouldn't have sex simply for pleasure as 'it is what the lord wants'. The irony of it is that every week for 20+ years Abe has been going to a sperm donation agency and jerking off into a cup so who knows how many children he has actually fathered. During his last visit Abe has a heart attack and that's the basis of Linda's journey as during one of her visits to the hospital, Abe starts to mumble and Linda, whether accurately or not, makes out that she should go and bring his son to his side. This really isn't unlike other indie road trip movies, but it's still really good with great writing and great acting. Rachael gives a very sympathetic portrayal of this woman who pretty much is completely out of her element on the road and how she finally comes out of her shell that's she's kept herself in for all this time to be a supportive wife to a man who's lied to him for 20+ years. She has great chemistry with Matt O'Leary, who's really good as well. He has the dirty, grimy look that's a good contrast to Linda. The movie is funny, it's not hilarious but it is funny with some clever lines, well there's one really clever line during the porn movie that Abe is watching when he has his heart attack. But the writing is still very solid with great character development and great interactions between the leads. The movie ends up becoming a romantic comedy and in some cases it would end up hurting the movie. In this case, it doesn't. It doesn't benefit it either, but it's more important that it didn't detract from the movie. And the ending is also good seeing Linda choose to make her own path by herself, that was pretty cool and satisfying. That's about it really, damn good movie highlighted by an excellent performance by Rachael Harris. If you have Netflix Instant, then I'd recommend it, even if it's not really a movie that's worth going out of your way to see.
½ June 8, 2013
Rachael Harris steals the show in Natural Selection.
½ June 6, 2013
Rachael Harris makes this movie.
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