THE SURROGATE

★★★

RAISING HEAVY YET IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

ADELAIDE FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
By Chris dos Santos
25th October 2020

Pro-choice versus pro-life - it's something most of us will never have to directly deal with, but as more and more conversations around the often-uncomfortable topic come up, we can't help but think what would we do. 'The Surrogate' really puts your mind through what you much decide if you were in this situation.

Jess (Jasmine Batchelor) is the surrogate for her best friends, couple Josh (Chris Perfetti) and Aaron (Sullivan Jones). But when a prenatal test comes back positive that means the child will have Down Syndrome, tensions rise as the question of abortion comes up.

Batchelor is a knock-out, even more phenomenal as this is her debut role. You are with her 100% of the time. Being the surrogate and going through the pregnancy while also being the emotional support for her friends and remaining strong; she is a powerhouse.

'THE SURROGATE' TRAILER

The moral basis of the film - would you have an abortion knowing your child will have Down Syndrome - is incredibly heavy, and even if the film doesn't deal with it ideally at times, it constantly keeps you thinking what you would do. Add in the fact that the legal parents don't want to keep the child but the surrogate does, and there is a lot more here than one may think.

My biggest problem with the film is with some of the characterisations. Jess is almost too perfect at times; she too much of an activist, she's always a tad too right, but most of this goes away by the mid-point. Her friends Josh and Aaron start as main characters but become background noise in the second half - which is fine as the focus becomes Jess, but they only come in to be one-sided and almost the film's villains. I think there could have been some stronger arguments and conversations between the three characters.

Batchelor is a knock-out, in her debut role she is phenomenal. You are with her 100% of the time.

The film also follows Bridget (Brooke Bloom), who has a son with Down Syndrome who Jess follows to learn from. I think there was a better way to introduce someone with DS than just someone to observe, but again after the first couple of scenes, this does become smoother.

While the film has a few hiccups, the package as a whole comes across as a truly moving experience that challenges the audience's morals with really thought-provoking dialogue. Along with Jasmine Batchelor's phenomenal performance, 'The Surrogate' is an important film that everyone should check out.

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