“Shiva Baby” review
- Post Authorby Talk
- Post DateSun Dec 10 2023
Written by Sylvia Miller
“Shiva Baby,” a 2020 comedy film written and directed by Emma Seligman, tells the story of Danielle, played by Rachel Sennott, a twenty-something-year-old Jewish woman grappling with change, expectations, stress, heartbreak and agency. Her parents, portrayed by Fred Melamed and Polly Draper, contribute to the wonderful narrative. Set against the backdrop of a shiva, a Jewish memorial service, the film navigates the complexities of life as friends, family and community members gather to honor the dead, eat and chit-chat.
At the Shiva, Danielle encounters everyone from her past, from distant relatives to her sugar daddy, portrayed by Danny Deferrari, alongside his wife, played by Dianna Agron, and her ex-girlfriend Maya, played by Molly Gordon. The movie incorporates incredibly relatable Jewish humor and creates a cinematic experience that is both claustrophobic and anxiety-ridden. For precisely one hour and seventeen minutes, viewers are kept on the edge of their seats, making it one of the most entertaining and stressful films ever seen.
“Shiva Baby” offers a poignant portrayal of the stress and reality faced by college-aged women navigating their next steps. It also sheds light, in a humorous and truthful manner, on the limitations of a “liberal, open-minded” family when it comes to sexuality.
This film is a brilliant depiction of a seldom-explored slice of humanity, appealing to a diverse audience. While the elite Jewish humor is present, the comedy resonates universally, surpassing the boundaries of religion, culture and age. This depth makes “Shiva Baby” deserving of widespread appreciation.
This film resonated with me, capturing the anxieties of this transformative stage of life – the fear of disappointing family, the anxiety of potential failure and the complexities of relationships. The beautifully crafted narrative, coupled with stylistic creativity, adds to the overall impact of the film, making it an exceptional exploration of the human experience.