Baby Done is not the first film featuring pregnancy, but it is one of the first to consider how the pregnant person may feel. We’ve seen pregnancy from the view of the panicked dad, the panicked grandfather, or as the happy end of the film. But when it comes to pregnant women they are usually portrayed either as cold figures hellbent on an abortion or absolutely delighted hellbent on everyone being as delighted with no in-between. Baby Done joins Saint Frances (2019) in a hopefully burgeoning genre of films that consider the nuances of pregnancy, whether it ends in an infant or not, unsurprisingly perhaps, both films are written by women. Baby Done is writer Sophie Henderson’s expression of her own experience of pregnancy.
Starring comedian Rose Matafeo as Zoë and
Neville Longbottom Matthew Lewis as her boyfriend Tim as a couple who, like most do, struggle to navigate pregnancy. The pair work as tree surgeons and, when Zoe discovers she is pregnant, she is determined that her life won’t change. Much.
This is an understandable reaction and it is apparent that the arts really haven’t examined the shock – even if it has been a goal – pregnancy must be. At a baby shower featuring the newly traditional yet weird and wasteful gender reveal, Zoë, Tim and their pal Molly all discuss how pregnancy equals losing friends because parents only want to befriend other parents. Zoe does not want this to happen to her.
You might think this means Zoë doesn’t want to be a parent, this is not true, she just doesn’t want to lose her identity in exchange for a baby. Considering most people who have experienced pregnancy will tell you your body strangely becomes public property, people believe they can say anything to you – even in Zoë’s parent’s case how they can’t imagine her pregnant. You are told what you can eat or drink by perfect strangers, it’s easy to see how, gaslit by your fellow man, you could lose an idea of who you are. And Zoë knows exactly who she is, a tree climber, with a bitchin’ birth plan and a to-do list that needs to be ticked off before the baby comes. And this to-do list does not feature anything as banal as ‘buy a cot’, rather ‘have a threesome’.
While there is no question that Rose Matafeo’s Zoë is the lead of Baby Done, the story is also sympathetic to Tim and friend Molly’s journey in relation to this pregnancy. Matthew Lewis is excellent as new father Tim, a new breed of on-screen male who can fathom (to a point) his partner’s feelings and be sensible without being dull or at the expense of any comedy. In fact, there are a few minor characters who really shine, such as Alice Snedden as the ante-natal teacher.
The film is generous and highlights the absurd pressure that is put on the pregnancy experience to be magical for all involved and any scent of dischord must equal doom. Baby Done is warm, funny and shows we’re leaving the tired old pregnancy tropes behind.
Baby Done is available to stream from Friday 22nd January 2020 on digital platforms.