Combustible Celluloid
With: Paul Giamatti, Kathryn Hahn, Kayli Carter, Molly Shannon, John Carroll Lynch, Desmin Borges, Denis O'Hare, Emily Robinson, Francesca Root-Dodson, Siobhan Fallon Hogan
Written by: Tamara Jenkins
Directed by: Tamara Jenkins
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, some graphic nudity, and language
Running Time: 123
Date: 10/05/2018

Private Life (2018)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Baby Splitter

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Tamara Jenkins last gave us The Savages (2007) and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay, but for some reason, didn't or couldn't make a follow-up until the equally excellent Private Life (2018), eleven years later. A Netflix original, this movie about a middle-aged New York couple trying every conceivable method to have a baby contains a wonderfully awkward Thanksgiving scene that will be worth re-watching for years to come. Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn play the couple, Richard and Rachel, flitting back and forth between adoption centers and fertility treatments, until they come upon a plan. Uneasy with the idea of an anonymous egg donor, their sort-of niece Sadie (Kayli Carter) — the child of Richard's brother's wife from a former marriage — begins to look like a good candidate. To their joy, Sadie agrees, but then the fallout starts. Jenkins is brilliant at juggling the unruly emotions of smart people, and somehow making their stories universal, funny, and heartbreaking. This is a wonderful film. John Carroll Lynch, Molly Shannon, and Denis O'Hare co-star.

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