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Malu De Martino
Ana Paula Arósio,
Longtime couple Venla and Antero come to a serious impasse. After years with Antero, Venla wants to start a family, but her boyfriend, worried that parenthood will stifle his speed-skating career, secretly gets a vasectomy. Determined to have a child, Venla seeks help from a female fertility doctor, a decision that breeds new possibilities for the prospective mother when she falls in love with the doctor. Written by
Venla is a fertility clinic psychologist who provides counseling for couples before they take that life-altering plunge into child-rearing. The irony is that Venla wants desperately to have a child of her own, but Antero, her boyfriend of fifteen years, who wants no part of the responsibility of fatherhood, is secretly sabotaging their efforts at conception, going so far as slipping contraceptives into her drinks and eventually even having a vasectomy without her knowledge. The third major character in the drama is Satu, a lesbian co-worker at the clinic, who also wants a child and with whom Venla begins to fall in love.
"Producing Adults" is one of the few films I can remember that actually deals with an issue that most people end up struggling with at some point in their lives: when - and even if - to have children. The movie tries to be fair with all its characters, even showing Antero, who does some pretty despicable things in the course of the movie, in a reasonably sympathetic light. Although his motives for not having children arise from a certain core selfishness - he is a championship skater who feels fatherhood would severely limit his chances of winning an Olympic gold medal - we can see that he truly does love Venla and is terrified of losing her. We can also empathize with his terror when he visits his prolific married buddy whose home seems to be literally overrun with rampaging little ones. And, for all his dishonesty, at least he isn't producing children THEN deciding he doesn't want to have anything to do with raising them. Moreover, writer Pekko Pesonen and director Aleksi Salmanpera, although their sympathies clearly lie with the two women who want desperately to be mothers, still acknowledge that the very act of having children can often be as rooted in selfishness as NOT having them. In addition, Venla is not always completely honest herself, even going so far as to trick her husband into "donating" a sperm sample to see if he's fertile without his prior consent.
This Finnish film offers a complex study of human nature as the three main characters interact in ways that are both revelatory and highly unexpected. Actually, the movie is at its most interesting when it is focusing on the marital conflict between Venla and Antero, and a bit less interesting when it is chronicling the burgeoning love between Venla and Satu. Venla's almost instantaneous "conversion" to lesbianism seems too much a matter of convenience to be taken seriously and, thus, puts a strain on the story's credibility. Still, despite that weakness, the film is not only well acted, but has some profound things to say about the kind of compromises people have to make when they become mature adults.
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