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Lapsia ja aikuisia - Kuinka niitä tehdään?
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Reviews & Ratings for
Producing Adults More at IMDbPro »Lapsia ja aikuisia - Kuinka niitä tehdään? (original title)

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32 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Summary from 2004 TIFF

Author: Richard from Toronto
10 September 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just saw this movie at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival. Don't think there are any spoilers, but if you'd rather not know anything, then skip the last few paragraphs.

Lapsia Ja Aikuisia (Producing Adults), is a movie about a woman who is facing a difference of opinion in her relationship with her boyfriend over whether or not to have children. This leads her to eventually question her entire relationship and what she really wants from life. This was a very good film, and the director, Aleksi Salmenpera, was on hand after the showing for a Q&A session.

Some notes from the Q&A (apologies if I misinterpreted anything):

- Don't approach it as a comedy or a drama, but take what you can from it.

- The title in English actually refers to a saying something like "the success of a marriage is not in producing children, but in the children producing adults". The director said the title actually is better in English than in Finnish.

- The same can't be said for the translation of the dialog; one of the audience members who obviously spoke Finnish said the Finnish dialog was great, but the translation missed a lot of the nuances in the script, including some of the vulgarity. The director agreed, and said that he had even spoken to the producer about the quality of the translation.

- The film originated out of a film school project.

- The director of photography had worked with Salmenpera on two of his short films.

- The music in the movie was all original, mainly because they couldn't afford to use anything else.

- It was a one-camera shoot, and took about 40 days of filming.

- One scene in the rain did have additional rain added to it, which was quite obvious, and for which the director apologized. :-)

- After a fight, the lead female and male characters are driving home, and the woman is driving, mainly because the male is injured. However, the director said that for reasons he couldn't articulate, he wanted her to be driving the car in the scene. As one audience member pointed out, it actually makes a statement about her character at that point in the movie.

- An opening shot in the movie of speed skaters is meant to convey the image of sperm, but the director said they couldn't keep up with the skaters, so it kind of lost its effect. :-)

The film had a mix of drama and comedy, but to me, came across primarily as a serious drama, looking at the breakdown in communication in a relationship, initiated by the discussion of children, which causes the lead female character, Venla, to question her entire relationship in general. This leads her to explore other possibilities.

The characters never really talk to each other about their differences or feelings, they tend to avoid it; some might have expected more confrontation and resolution in the dialogue. But I guess that is the point of why their relationship has problems and gives it a more realistic feel. They do attempt therapy, but we never hear what they say; we only see the session with a musical soundtrack.

Overall, I thought the movie was quite good and an interesting look at modern relationships. It was a really good effort for what I understand to be the director's first feature film (and thus why it appeared in the Discovery program of the festival).

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

original take on the theme of parenthood

8/10
Author: Roland E. Zwick (magneteach@aol.com) from United States
11 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A sweet film that captures love

8/10
Author: groggo from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
16 April 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS

I enjoyed the film Producing Adults. The acting was superb, thanks to a strong script and believable characters. The desperation underlying the urge for reproduction is done with a certain understated 'flair' (is that an oxymoron?) that is most appealing.

Someone said that the change in the lead character's sexual preference was jarring, and on celluloid at least it does indeed look somewhat sudden. A 'heating-up' period might have helped. These two women have known each other all their lives, but we are not led to believe that they destined to be lovers, particularly since the lead character, pushing hard for pregnancy, has stood by her selfish boyfriend for 15 years.

I can see where straight men might be somewhat put out by perceptions of 'male bashing.' The men in the film tend to be self-absorbed, a little pathetic, even doltish. That said, all things considered, I think this is a sweet, moving and engaging movie. It is, at its heart, about love, yet it's never smarmy, pretentious or didactic. There are some very soft and tender scenes in here that brilliantly belie that old myth about Scandinavia's 'icy' temperament.

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7 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

People Make an Effort to Do the Right Thing under Difficult Situations

9/10
Author: jazzest (jazzest_jazzest@hotmail.com) from Chiba City, Japan
22 May 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nykvist-reminiscent photograph, slightly over-exposed with cold lights, warmly frames many happenings interwoven within one compelling story--a husband secretly has a vasectomy to avoid having a baby; knowing that, his wife attempts to get pregnant with a donated sperm at the clinic where she works; her boss, an old man, finds it and tries to force her to have sex with him; the wife escapes and then makes out with her bisexual female coworker; the husband catches them and the marriage is jeopardized; and the coworker gets married to her brother's roommate. Particularly touching among these incidents is the believable process that the wife, straight female Venla (Minna Haapkylä), comes to want an intimacy with another woman.

The viewers may feel that the story is a little dragging at first, but will be satisfied by the end, having seen everyone make an effort to do the right thing under difficult situations. Some creativity or originality in film-making might have helped the film to be a perfect masterpiece.

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