Nasty Baby – A truly surprising film
Written and directed by: Sebastián Silva
Gay couple Freddy (Silva) and Mo (Adebimpe) have an idyllic life, living in a posh apartment building in New York. The two are happily in love, Freddy’s art career is about to take off with his subjective performance piece “Nasty Baby” (in which a naked Freddy acts out an infantile state), and they are trying to have a baby with the help of their best friend Polly (Wiig). Pretty much the only bumps in their road are Mo’s family’s uneasiness about the “Unconventional” family they are trying to create, and a slightly menacing homeless man, named ‘The Bishop’, who lurks around their block causing trouble.
For most of the film, we watch the relationship between the three leads. We get a feel for their progressive take on life, and enjoy the tonally light, humorous moments (including watching Polly inseminate herself with a syringe by putting her feet up against the wall of Mo’s childhood bedroom). There is a strange sense of something bad coming though, with Bishop, as he increasingly invades the lives and personal space of Polly, Mo, and Freddy. What starts as mildly funny (Bishop using a leaf blower at 7 AM right outside of Mo and Freddy’s window) takes a turn for the worse when Bishop attacks Polly as she leaves the neighborhood alone at night. It is a strange yet effective element for director Sebastian Silva to throw into his charming, dark comedy.
The third act of the film completely shifts gears, and ditches the humor in favor of a tense thriller vibe. By the time things come to a head with Bishop, you see it coming. What you don’t see coming are the things that follow. The change in tone is done very well though, as the mood shift feels like a natural progression and avoids jarring it’s audience too much. By the time the credits roll, you have almost completely forgotten the light, tender tale of the three best friends trying to conceive.
I really enjoyed “Nasty Baby”. Is it a perfect film? No, but it is entertaining, unique, and impressively daring. Watching Silva evolve as a director is becoming really fun, and I am excited to see what he does next.