In Brooklyn, Zelda, her lover Max, and their small daughter Little Z share one room in a flat with seven others, including Natali, a best friend of Zelda's just out of detox. Max is a ...
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In Brooklyn, Zelda, her lover Max, and their small daughter Little Z share one room in a flat with seven others, including Natali, a best friend of Zelda's just out of detox. Max is a would-be writer, off most of the time drinking; Zelda is an illustrator working in the bedroom as she tends Little Z. At least once a week, Zelda and four other young women who each have a child meet for $2 margaritas during happy hour. They talk about life a few years ago without kids, men (only one is married), postpartum sex drives, moving to the country, and being stuck. As Max's moods weigh more heavily on Zelda and as Natali's recovery abates, can Zelda find constant forward motion? Written by
This was billed as the directoral debut of Ilya Chalken and she generally acquits herself well in this low budget effort about the problems of child rearing when you are living on the margins of society.
The plot revolves around Zelda, a starving artist, played by Eleanor Hutchins, who is trying to raise a toddler in a chaos filled life in a Brooklyn slum. She co-habitates with Max, an apparently none too successful writer who spends very little time writing, and a lot of time out in the street, starting fist fights with almost anyone who looks the wrong way at him. He's sort of a Brendan Behan character, without the Irish wit or charm. Also living in the house is Natali, played by Holly Ramos, a recently rehabed druggie who almost killed herself with an overdose.
That essentially is the plot. It's mostly about a mom trying to cope with the requirements of motherhood when dad is largely disinterested in fatherhood.
The film hurts in part from a lack of subplot. Not much else seems to be going on here and the main story line could profit from something else big happening in this couple's lives, because then it would raise the stakes in the main story. It would make us care more whether Zelda takes her child and goes, or stays to work things out.
My big problem with this film may be political. I am admittedly a man, but this film to me looks at the problems it raises from a very slanted perspective. Since the film indicates Max wanted Zelda to have an abortion in the first place, I can only assume that either Baby Z was unplanned, or that Zelda intentionally got pregnant, no matter what Max wanted. But shouldn't Zelda have scoped Max out well enough to begin with to know he wasn't ever going to qualify for father of the year award? She certainly knows about his tendency toward violence. This isn't a guy who would be high up on most girl's lists of prospective mates.
It is also Zelda who brings a drug addict into the house; Zelda who sings her little girl to sleep, while guests are doing coke lines in the next room. (Did she ever consider telling her friends that doing drugs in her home was not acceptable?)
Zelda in her own way seems just as selfish as the man in her life.
All this sounds judgmental, of course, but don't forget, this is a judgmental movie, one in which a woman with no reliable source of income, no strong relationship, and a world filled with druggie friends, has decided to bring a child into the world, damn the consequences.
The message of this movie seems to be one which psychologists and marriage counsellors say they frequently hear from women. "If he loved me, he'd change." Maybe the message should have been: "Bringing a baby into this world is an awesome responsibility. Maybe I should think about this a little more thoroughly."
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