Natural Selection (2012)
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as Abe White
as Porno Nun
as Porno Priest
as Handsome Doctor
as Sperm Clinic Doctor
as Homeless Guy #1
as Homeless Guy #2
as Wigwam Clerk
as Old Motel Clerk
as White Trash Fox
as Stern Nurse
as Bus Employee
as Old Waitress
as Indian Motel Clerk
as Country Doctor
as Police Officer #1
as Police Officer #2
as Family Doctor
as Distracted Parishion...
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Critic Reviews for Natural Selection
In the evolutionary spectrum of cinema, "Natural Selection" is like the duck-billed platypus, pretending to be warm-blooded but more than a little fowl.
However gritty this indie comedy may look (cinematographer Steve Calitri seems to be aping William Eggleston's photographs of the American south), it isn't all that different from an Adam Sandler vehicle.
In Harris' hands, Linda is guileless but believable, her smile so worn and wary that it almost hurts to see it.
Audience Reviews for Natural Selection
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.
Benefiting greatly from a riveting performance from Rachel Harris, Natural Selection is a great film about self-discovery. Although not as strong as other movies about religious repression (see Higher Ground), writer/director Robbie Pickering's glimpse into the life of devoted housewife Linda is still remarkable in its own right. From darkly comedic moments to quietly emotional scenes, Pickering understands how to inject humanity into ever odd character.
Matt O'Leary continues to prove himself to be an actor worth watching. After his performance in Fat Kid Rules the World and this incredible (albeit similar) portrayal of a swindling addict burns his name and face into the memory of moviegoers. With a great supporting cast and clever scripting, Natural Selection is definitely worth a viewing and maybe even a second.
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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.
Natural Selection Quotes
|Sheila:||Now if you'll excuse me, I have children to attend to. They're our most important resource Linda.|
|Raymond:||I could get a dude pregnant.|
|Linda:||[when meeting Raymond] So...do you have any hobbies, or aspirations.....or pets?|
|Sheila:||...but don't mind me or my starvin' baby!|
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