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Unexpected proves a thoughtful and well-acted -- if somewhat mild -- look at worthy, thought-provoking themes.
All Critics (58)
| Top Critics (25)
| Fresh (38)
| Rotten (20)
With a 90-minute running time, Unexpected would fit comfortably, with room for commercial breaks, in a two-hour network time slot. How did it ever find a theatrical release?
Smulders gives one of the most natural performances of her career, and Bean's subtle, strong work announces her as a young actress to watch.
A well-intentioned snooze. ... The script's high point for adrenaline is when Samantha and Jasmine make the impulsive decision to - wait for it - litter.
Except for a bit of contrived conflict that arises toward the end, the connection between these two expectant mothers-who are at vastly different points in their lives-rings with a mutual kindness and compassion.
Thanks to an intelligent script and the performances of Cobie Smulders, Gail Bean and Elizabeth McGovern, the minutiae of everyday life in this small, lovely film will capture your interest.
Unexpected features fine performances from both women and I'd love to see more from newcomer Bean, showing grace and maturity onscreen.
Unexpected is intelligent and endearing and is most importantly true to life.
While the premise is interesting, Unexpected, a film from director Kris Swanberg, lacks conflict from the very beginning, leaving our protagonist, Samantha, extremely flat.
The script is honest, mature, and genuinely touching in many ways. The performances by the lead cast are sincere and filled with heart.
Unexpected deserves credit for featuring a relationship between two women that is not often shown. At the same time, though, that relationship, fraught with race and class tension as it is, never really challenges us in a believable way.
Unexpected is of a piece with the films of Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson) and Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo) in that she dodges melodrama in favor of realistic concerns given life by the crackling chemistry between her central duo.
This is a smart, sophisticated piece of storytelling that will please any and all crowds.
Sometimes calling a film "mild" or "pleasant" isn't damning with faint praise. Unexpected is one of those films. Telling a simple story in a beautifully, genuine and humanistic way, with warmth, wit and truth, Unexpected is a gem. Cobie Smulders, following Results and The Intervrntion, is really doing interesting and memorable work and is flawless here, and Gail Bean will be one to watch.
The Mumblecore movement has produced some really amazing talents in the last ten years. The Duplass Brothers have made a handful of really great films, and have even begun producing some seriously radical indie projects. One of the freer examples is Joe Swanberg, whose wife Kris Swanberg directed this film. Completely separate from her husband's style, and an innovator in her own right, Swanberg has forged ahead with this story of two separate environments with two distinct women in the same situation.
Colbie Smulders plays a passionate high school science teacher named Sam, who finds herself at a loss when the school she is teaching at announces it's going to close. Soon after she realizes she is pregnant. Scrambling to figure out a plan that balances her need to work outside the home and make her life work with her current situation, Sam is at a loss at understanding how her life has been unexpectedly changed. At the same time a student of hers learns that she is pregnant, and has to adjust from her previous goal of getting into college, and also raising a child. Both try to understand their limitations and new outlooks on life with the addition of a child.
There have been a great many films in the past several years that delve into female issues that haven't been addressed before. Indie filmmaking really is a great space for women to tell stories that studios don't want to put their heft behind, thinking that male audiences won't respond to female perspectives. How children are brought into the world, and raised, is a seminal issue for everyone, not just women. This story focuses mostly on Sam's convictions, but also does a great job of showing how men are as involved in these decisions as women. It also speaks to the guilt that modern feminists feel for wanting more outside the home, and how much pressure it is to choose between your child and your work life. There always being a drawback to either choice. Having a second character dealing with their own unique issues relating to raising a child shows how everyone's situation is different, and priorities are shaped by situation more than desire.
This may not be the best film to deal with such issues, as it doesn't always tackle race, poverty, or other options besides having the baby, it does smartly juxtapose WOC and white feminism's separate issues in an intersectional way not always seen by mainstream film's standards.
Unexpected is not offensively bad. The actors try and the script is well intentioned, but the film's shallow screenplay, awkward dialogue, and lack of conflict makes Unexpected a disappointing movie, despite a promising premise.
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