Reviews

REVIEW- Nasty Baby: On gentrification, New Yorkers and the gift of life

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This review contains spoilers

Director, Sebastian Silva, is best known for Crystal Fairy & the Magical Cactus, and Magic Magic, (a.k.a “those films where Michael Cera is creepy”). His most recent film, Nasty Baby, follows Freddy (Sebastian Silva), an artist living in New York with his boyfriend, Mo (Tunde Adebimpe), hoping to have a child with his best friend, Polly (Kristen Wiig). We see the trails of trying to conceive a child, not only physically but emotionally, as Mo has to become the sperm donor when Freddy is unable to. The relationship between Mo and Polly appears to be the issue to overcome in the first half the film, the dilemma that the audience think will be resolved, leaving the three main characters living happily ever after with a baby. But what appears to start out as your typical independent film about happy-go-luck hipster New Yorkers takes an extremely unexpected turn. Nasty Baby plays with audience expectation of genre and narrative when the third act of the film suddenly becomes a dark drama once (spoiler alert) Freddy murders his neighbour.

Nasty Baby’s involvement of views like homosexuality and gentrification gives a modern perspective of society today. Polly tells Mo’s skeptical and unsupportive sister that “there’s no normal situation” when it comes to bringing up a child. The subtle theme of gentrification plays an important part in the film’s message, as the young middle class begin to move into areas previously known as poor and dangerous, containing squatters down the street. The young, wealthy, modern artist murdering the mentally ill squatter acts as a symbol of gentrification.

If the film didn’t contain the murder, and ended as expected, it still would’ve been very enjoyable, however it would lack what makes it so unique. Making the characters so lovable is what makes what happens so shocking. This murder could be seen as representing the unexpectedness of life, one minute you’re an artist hoping to become a father, the next minute you’re accidentally a murderer. Freddy doesn’t mean to kill Bishop, his life didn’t lead up to this murder, he wasn’t raised in a way that would encourage murder, it was just something that happened, as shocking to him as it is to the audience. The film examines the difficulty of creating life compared to the ease of taking it away.

By Louise Pam


LOUISELouise is an 18-year-old from Cambridgeshire studying Film and English at university in Manchester. She loves video editing in her spare time (usually music videos and film clip compilations) and secretly aims to be the next Sally Menkes. Her favourite films are kept on a stupidly long list on her phone, but her current go to top three are Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Lost In Translation, and We Are The Best. You can follow her at @louise.pam on instagram or @dungalouise on twitter.

 

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