Combustible Celluloid
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With: Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, Polly Draper, Danny Deferrari, Fred Melamed, Dianna Agron, Jackie Hoffman, Cilda Shaur, Glynis Bell, Sondra James, Deborah Offner, Vivien Landau, Ariel Eliaz
Written by: Emma Seligman
Directed by: Emma Seligman
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 78
Date: 04/02/2021

Shiva Baby (2021)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Dead Sexy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Emma Seligman's Shiva Baby opens with Danielle (Rachel Sennott) having sex with Max (Danny Deferrari), which is normal. But then she collects money for the service, and races out the door to make it to a relative's funeral service in time. Her bickering parents (Polly Draper and Fred Melamed) are there, as well as any number of nosy friends and neighbors, wondering what Danielle is going to do with her life; she really doesn't know. Also there is Maya (Molly Gordon), who is going to law school, and who harbors some kind of simmering resentment for Danielle. Then, who should walk in but Max, with his blonde wife (Dianna Agron) and their baby. Danielle melts into a whirlwind of emotions, jealousy, panic, anxiety, etc., and Seligman keeps this 78-minute whirlwind of discomfort going at just the right clip and just the right tone so that it never becomes oppressive. (Although, as my girlfriend pointed out, why couldn't Danielle just leave?)

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