THE SURROGATE review by Ronnie Malik – this thought-provoking indie is solid cinema

THE SURROGATE review by Ronnie Malik – this thought-provoking indie is solid cinema

Director: Jeremy Hersh

Cast: Jasmine Batchelor, Chris Perfetti, Sullivan Jones, Brooke Bloom, Eboni Booth, Tonya Pinkins

Rating: B+

THE SURROGATE, directed by Jeremy Hersh, is a film bringing up difficult issues and various viewpoints to the forefront when planning a new age modern family. This thought provoking movie about a scenario that arises for three progressive thinking young people involved in a surrogacy pregnancy explores difficult decisions and moral dilemmas some face when planning to have a child.

Jess (Jasmine Batchelor), an upbeat bubbly web designer working for a non-profit in swanky New York City, is thrilled to be the surrogate for her two best friends. Josh (Chris Perfetti) and Aaron (Sullivan Jones), a loving gay couple, want to fulfill their dream of having a child. The threesome is overjoyed when a pregnancy test Jess takes comes back positive. But the excitement doesn’t last long once they are told by Jess’s doctor that the baby has tested positive for Down syndrome.

The ever positive and cheerful mother-to-be pushes forward and begins researching and studying how to raise a special needs baby. She engages Josh and Aaron in an exercise to spend time in a youth home dedicated to taking care of children with Down syndrome and attempts to make friends with parents raising children with the disability. Jess’s intentions are good as she tries to involve her best friends in becoming comfortable and prepared for the child that will come into their lives in just a few months.

Josh and Aaron give Jess an unexpected reaction when they tell her they want to terminate the pregnancy. Their exposure to the condition does not make them comfortable with the emotional, mental, and financial commitment it will take to raise a future daughter that is not a normal child. At first Jess agrees to the abortion but then she starts having second thoughts as she begins to question the morality of picking and choosing to have a child based on a medical test.

The performances in THE SURROGATE are extremely strong with Jasmine Batchelor as the stand out. Intense scenes with the entire supporting cast gives them a chance to shine giving this film depth and grit as it grapples with different sides of the issues the film addresses. This production never takes a side and presents various angles from which to look at problems when facing difficult decisions. The story is well written and although it does slow down in some parts, the last twenty minutes picks up the pace and ties everything together in what may feel like an unsettling ending. THE SURROGATE raises questions and leaves it to the audience to find the answers themselves. This exceptional cutting edge independent film is one of best to come out so far this year and is bound to accomplish its goal of creating a lot of conversation and points to ponder for those who watch it.

THE SURROGATE will open in virtual theaters on June 12th – check the official website for more info

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