Natural Selection (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Natural Selection (2012)

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Linda White (Rachael Harris), a devoted Christian housewife, leads a sheltered existence in suburban Texas. Her world is turned upside-down when she discovers that her dying husband, Abe, has a 23-year old illegitimate son named Raymond (Matt O'Leary) living in Florida. Somewhere on the edge of guilt and loneliness, Linda grants Abe's final wish and sets off on a quixotic journey to find Raymond and bring him back. Along the way, Linda's wonderfully bizarre relationship with Raymond will teach her more about herself than she ever imagined possible and force her to come to terms with her troubled past. -- (C) Cinema Guild

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Cast

Matt O'Leary
as Raymond
John Diehl
as Abe White
Jon Gries
as Peter
Drake Dempsey
as Porno Priest
Michael Hyland
as Handsome Doctor
Gregory Grosh
as Sperm Clinic Doctor
Rob Huebel
as Martin
Sam Eidson
as Homeless Guy #1
Salvador Cabral
as Homeless Guy #2
Lauren Nailen
as Wigwam Clerk
Roger Hewitt
as Old Motel Clerk
Hallie Martin
as White Trash Fox
Melinda DeKay
as Stern Nurse
Rick Appleton
as Bartender
Mark Winslett
as Bus Employee
Connie Hughes
as Old Waitress
Kamlesh Patel
as Indian Motel Clerk
Loomis Warren
as Country Doctor
Joe Miller
as Police Officer #1
Skeeter Sewart
as Police Officer #2
Grant James
as Family Doctor
Linda White
as Distracted Parishioner
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Critic Reviews for Natural Selection

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (17)

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.

July 13, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

[Harris is] the one good thing in "Natural Selection."

July 5, 2012 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

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.

June 21, 2012 | Full Review…

[Harris is] the big reason that "Natural Selection" is so engaging.

June 21, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

In Harris' hands, Linda is guileless but believable, her smile so worn and wary that it almost hurts to see it.

May 17, 2012 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

A coming-of-age portrait of a sweet, innocent, middle-aged Christian woman who bursts through the confines of a sexless marriage.

April 26, 2012 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Natural Selection

½

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.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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