- US / Canada
- 1h 17min
- 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
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.
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