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Private Life

Director:  Tamara Jenkins
Year Released:  2018
Rating:  2.0

An aging couple (Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn) - who spent their early years working in the theatre - want to have a child, but neither are physically capable of it, so they ask their "niece" Sadie (Kayli Carter) for her eggs (and visit a lot of doctors specializing in fertilization). The setup - upper-middle class New York artists hanging around their apartment and reading and eating out (and avoiding 9 to 5 jobs) - is like Woody Allen at his most despairing, and while Giamatti and Hahn have the collective skill to support any movie, the overwhelming sensation of defeat (and death - a child exists as a way to carry on one's legacy) permeates every scene: it's the opposite of a pick-me-up. At least Giamatti's character admits, in one revealing moment, that it's he and Hahn's fault they didn't try to conceive earlier, but you know what they say about having kids and a career (even though there are many examples of people who have accomplished both). Jenkins likes to name drop artists and make movie references, but what is with the dig at my man Mr. Knausgaard? Does his egocentrism strike a nerve?

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