What would you risk for the sake of having a family? Would you risk your relationship with your partner you have been with for years? Would you risk hurting other family members to have a family of your own? Writer-Director Tamara Jenkins delves deep into the world of infertility and the struggles couples go through.
Private Life is set in the inner-workings of hustling New York City, where a couple, Rachel Biegler (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard Grimes (Paul Giamatti) are on the quest to start their own family. Issues with fertility, they are struggling to create their own family the natural way, meaning they have to resort to medical procedures and multiple other fertility therapies. Among all this, they are putting their relationship at risk, all in the aim to create a life and sacrificing their own. With the multitude of opportunities floating their way, they go on a journey, taking on the ups and downs of infertility.
Tamara Jenkins – Oscar-nominated writer and one of the latest female directors to hit the scene – with Private Life being her third feature length venture, it’s clear to see the talent she has and possesses, creating a narrative about something serious, yet making it humorously entertaining. It’s been over 11 years since her last feature length, The Savages, was released. Time and effort has clearly gone into the story and it shows. Each scene is intricately made, episodically created to tell the hard ships. Even down to the tee with the cinematography, each shot is framed perfectly to tell the story. I can praise different areas of the film individually but essentially, it’s all down to the clever and intelligent writing from Jenkins.
Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti were casted perfectly for the roles. With Tamara Jenkins thorough research into the topic of infertility, the actors took on their roles with poise and made it convincingly through the 2 hour feature without fumbling. There were times were the film slowed down and left the them both spineless. However, they regained consciousness and pulled through a convincing performance, highlighting true emotions couples go through when experiencing infertility. The support from Kayli Carter, who plays Sadie, was exceptional. Playing a struggling student, she aids with her emotions and builds on the family unit. Kathryn and Paul are constantly surrounded by family, something they don’t have within the narrative. That suffocation is put across to the audience and we gain further empathy for the couple, aside from their troubles being constantly investigated by doctors.
I do have to admit, I watched this film in a state of being hungover. 9 times out of 10, it’s quite difficult to impress me in a hungover state, I usually pick something more humorous and upbeat but something possessed me to watch this. I was intrigued by the title and the synopsis and it definitely impressed. What impressed me most, as has been expressed, is the writing. The reason why I stayed till the end is because of Jenkins’ ability to write. The film could definitely be improved in areas, it’s not perfect, I don’t personally think it is Oscar worthy but she should be recognised once again for her skills. Netflix are pushing the boundaries and the Originals are getting better ever so gradually. Let’s hope it continues…