Parents' Guide to

Single Mother by Choice

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Mom-to-be copes with pregnancy, pandemic; language.

Movie NR 2021 82 minutes
Single Mother by Choice Poster Image

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This film is unlikely to have much appeal for kids and teens. A round of applause to any independent filmmaker who can get a film made, never mind make it during a pandemic. But although turning a filmmaker's own pregnancy into a fictional narrative has potential, in the hands of writer and lead actor Selina Ringel and her husband-director Dan Levy Dagerman, Single Mother by Choice feels more like a vanity project. The lead here is a juicy part for any wannabe actress, but Ringel plays Eva as a whiny, aggressive, graceless overachiever who thinks being demanding is the same as being powerful and assertive. Nobody likes a whiner, and few will like Eva. Eva is depicted as a competent and smart agent for her clientele, but her smarts hit a wall in every other realm. A control freak, she expresses perfect confidence in her ability to go raise a child alone. She boasts that she's independent and responsible, as if being organized is all you need in the face of the inevitable unforseeables that arise during child-rearing.

In the filmmakers' defense, they may have believed they were deliberately showcasing Eva's flaws against which we can measure her growth as she earns the audience's respect and affection. But no growth is shown, and no respect and affection earned. On the phone with her doctor's office, she's rude and impatient, saying, "I'm not trying to be a d--k here…" but, trying or not, she is most definitely being one. She never renounces her strongly-held beliefs as incorrect and naïve. Instead, we see her panicked at any news that doesn't conform to her expectations. Yes, she cuddles with her adorable, notably silent infant in the closing moments, but we still have no indication that Eva's matured enough to leave the panic and whining behind the next time the kid is on a three-hour crying jag.

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