Shiva Baby

Shiva Baby
  • 2020
  • US / Canada
  • 1h 17min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Emma Seligman
  • Written by: Emma Seligman
  • Cast: Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, Polly Draper, Danny Deferrari, Fred Melamed, Dianna Agron
  • UK release: 11 June 2021

Read review

Performance times

This film is not currently showing in cinemas.

Shiva Baby follows Danielle (Sennott), a young bisexual woman grappling with tradition and independence, who, along with her mother and father, attends a shiva, a Jewish gathering of friends and family during a time of mourning.

Set over the course of this single climactic day-long event, the film perfectly captures the excruciating awkwardness, the passive-aggressive dynamics and the claustrophobic intensity of a family gathering. At under 90 minutes and with its one location, Seligman’s screenplay ratchets up the tension as the universe seems to conspire against our heroine at every opportunity – when Danielle’s mother tells her “Just try to behave yourself today”, we have a sense that that decision may well be out of Danielle’s hands.  

With its spiky, sparkling supporting cast (including a winning turn by Fred Melamed as Danielle’s father), painfully authentic setting and refreshingly human protagonist (the film is loosely based on Seligman’s own experiences), Shiva Baby is an uneasy delight, and is an impressive calling card for its young writer-director and star. 

Text supplied by third party.

Reviews & features

Best films to stream this week: 16 Jun

16 Jun 2021

Our weekly guide to the best films available on home entertainment platforms

The future finally seems to be looking brighter but, with plans still feeling precarious and our viewing habits perhaps permanently changed, we'll keep casting our expert eye over the newly arrived films on TV and streaming services each week, bringing…

Shiva Baby

7 Jun 20214 stars

Emma Seligman turns the social anxiety up to eleven in her hilariously discomforting debut

Set predominantly in a single domestic location and propelled wonderfully by its spiralling social discomfort and sense of the walls closing inexorably in, Shiva Baby is the droll and disarming feature debut of writer-director Emma Seligman, who is…

Tell us more about this listing.