Ovum is not a conventional indie comedy. Director Matt Ott has drawn on a number of influences in his debut feature to create a tableau of cinematic elements that promise to land him even more exciting projects. Ovum was written by Sonja O'Hara, who also stars in the film as Calpurnia Dylan, a young aspiring actress who decides to sell her eggs at a donation clinic for extra cash. The film then follows Calpurnia through this hilarious and at times, very difficult process.
While O'Hara has a talent for writing and storytelling, her acting leaves much to be desired. The plot of the film adds additional irony to her performance in the lead role, as it provides ample evidence that not everyone can do what they really want to do with their lives. Talent, ambition, circumstances, and luck are all solid elements of having artistic success. Though Calpurnia insists that her egg donation is acting research, it's pretty clear that things aren't going entirely how she imagined.
O'Hara's co-stars shine bright and lift the performance of the lead actress. Katie Morrison is a captivating presence from her first appearance on screen as Calpurnia's serial egg-donating friend. Laura Poe also shines as Calpurnia's donation recipient. Her character is a famous actor desperate to have a child. The relationships between these two characters and Calpurnia is the most interesting part of the film, apart from the music and cinematography, which are both great. The soundtrack is ethereal and sets a thoughtful mood. Ovum is deftly edited in order to maximize its strengths. The darkly comedic nature of the film serves the aesthetic choices very well. The first scene inside the egg donation clinic has a horror feel to it—something sterile and uncomfortable.
Ovum is about the choices we make to get where we want to be in life—to achieve our goals. The film more or less pulls this off, but falls short in the acting category. This seems to be a case where an emotional attachment to the project clouded its vision. One could interpret this as a solid reason why more artistic control should be given to directors in a given project. Art can be ruthless, and most successful directors are just that. Overall, Ovum is great little project with lots of quirks and eccentricities that add to its intriguing plot.
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