Private Life

A middle-aged couple (Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti) in New York City is trying to get pregnant through several expensive procedures; the chance of using a donor egg opens new possibilities. The director’s first film in eleven years (after The Savages) is sweet, realistic and amusing as it penetrates the heartbreak of wanting children but not being able to have any; Rachel and Richard’s journey is ripe with lessons, especially as they enlist the help of their college-age niece. Kayli Carter captures the immaturity of that seemingly adult character well, and both Hahn and Giamatti are immensely likable and believable. Sounds like depressing material, but it’s more heartwarming than anything. 

2018-U.S. 123 min. Color. Produced by Stefanie Azpiazu, Anthony Bregman, Tamara Jenkins. Written and directed by Tamara Jenkins. Cast: Kathryn Hahn (Rachel Biegler), Paul Giamatti (Richard Grimes), Kayli Carter (Sadie), Molly Shannon, John Carroll Lynch, Denis O’Hare.

Trivia: First shown at Sundance, then released on Netflix.

Last word: “When I was in the thick of it myself, I had a friend, Rebecca – she’s a filmmaker, a documentarian, and she was my confidant. When I would relay to her what was going on in all of the trials of either IVF or adoption or whatever things we were pursuing (we were pursuing international adoption as opposed to domestic adoption, which is what happened in the movie), she would say to me, ‘This is really good material. You should be writing this down.’ And I was horrified. I’m not making a movie about this stuff. But, here I am and I have a movie about it.” (Jenkins, RogerEbert.com)

 

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