SHIVA BABY (2021)

Written & Directed By: Emma Seligman
Cinematography: Maria Rusche
Editor: Hanna Park 

Cast: Rachel Sennot, Polly Draper, Molly Gordon, Fred Melamed, Dianna Agron, Jackie Hoffman, Danny Deferrari, Glynis Bell, 

At a Jewish funeral service with her parents, a college student runs into her sugar daddy.


The film works as a character piece. Even though it takes place mostly in one location and is full of colorful characters who add comedy and point of view to the story. It all centers around the main character played by Rachel Sennot in a subtle and ultimately powerful performance. As she is out under high pressure unknowingly in a continuous situation. She begins to unravel in all sorts of ways.

What makes the film so strong is that while there is comedy it plays almost like a horror film or thriller. As the score seems to help tighten the rope around the character and set in such a crowded space there are fewer and fewer places to turn.

Even as she is struggling to keep her sugar daddy who is far from a Prince Charming and the longer he stays at the party. The more his farm diminishes, but he is the only thing she had control over and loses him. She will feel like she has nothing. So she keeps trying harder and harder to lessen herself to keep and seduce him. 

As it seems scene to scene she is running out of places to hide or things to distract her as she gets more worried and more people to talk about her and the danger of her secrets being revealed. As she tries to make things seem normal.

Even as she tries to seduce a guy who is her sugar daddy back and you begin to wonder is it more about the power and strength as he isn’t all that appealing or beating the competition for him in his successful wife who seems to know more than she lets on. Or did she actually fall for him as something more than just a client?

Is she just desperate to keep the status quo as anything different would force her to grow up? As the man ends up not being all that appealing. Which one can tell early on before any revelations are brought to the table 

The whole cast is eye-opening, they are funny and emotional. Though Polly Draper as the roads mother has the right amount of emotions and judgment to be frustrating and sweet

Rachel Sennot as the lead is a revelation as she plays so many emotions and feelings all at once. Even though it is mostly through facial expressions and actions more than dialogue. Not to mention her natural beauty comes through when being plain but also wants to be looked upon with desire.

The film also offers us a bi-sexual lead where the film does have sex and sexual language the film doesn’t become all about or into about the character’s sexuality as their defining trait 

This film could have easily been more of a simple dramedy that would Feel more staged or at least stage-bound the way it is shown and protested here is short but keeps the audience on their toes as each revelation or emotion feels like a jump scare or is looked upon with dread. 

Though it offers up a few surprises, by the end it leaves the characters uncomfortable but in it’s own way a happy ending. 

Thankfully for all the awkwardness and Cringe-worthy conversations and situations that play like horror the film still has its fair share of laughs and humor.

Grade: B+

THE FAMILY (2013)

Directed By: Luc Besson  Written By: Luc Besson & Michael Caleo Based in the Book Written By: Tonino Benacquista Cinematography: Thierry Arbogast Editor: Julien Ray

Cast: Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo, Domenick Lombardozzi, Vincent Pastore, Jimmy Palumbo 

The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the Witness Protection Program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging, as their old habits die hard.


The film goes from a zany comedic one moment then wants us to believe In The dramatics and tension of situations. They then usually relieve themselves in ridiculous ways. Filled with Italian mafia stereotypes. 

As each character finds their own hustle daughter seems to suffer the most

Just as with the ridiculous ark of Diana argron’s character sets out to seduce her teacher and then when he decides to end the affair for Good reason. She is ready to kill herself in a dramatic fashion. I guess the script is aiming to show the vast emotional unpredictable terrain of teenage girls In love?

Robert DeNiro seems to be having fun once again sending up himself and mob movies

The film has style but shows it rather sparingly and usually only in the action scenes.

The film should be a slam dunk. Though even the lost-in-translation-type jokes and setups don’t work here. As the film seems more of a high-concept comedy that has come too late. Usually, the film is just as appealing and Rich as a bunch of action scenes in a small town. That is when the film at least comes alive

Director Luc Besson is bringing Hollywood-style blockbusters and big action stores to more typical European locales and surroundings.

Here it doesn’t feel like anyone is trying. They more or less seem to be trying to coast on their own laurels. Just as the film seems to try to coast on the big-name cast and be seen as more of a prestige picture

Considering all the talent involved this should have been a slam dunk. It definitely should be better and sharper. Even if dumbed-down, It should definitely be better in the action sequences that director Luc Besson is usually an expert at.

The film feels so middle for the road, lazy and lacking effort. Its tone is all over the place and the humor seems obvious or just lost in translation. 

Every character goes their own way and eventually abs their own secrets. Breaking the rules they hold each other to. Except for surprisingly Robert DeNiro’s character who all the other characters think will. 

The film feels like they should men ore for character considering the talent. Instead, the film just feels thin like an idea without true follow-through very 1980s and 1990’s.

Grade: F