Hot Docs 2016 Review: ‘Future Baby’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Hot Docs 2016, Movies by - May 04, 2016
Hot Docs 2016 Review: ‘Future Baby’

An aesthetically pleasing and genuinely curious approach is taken to childbirth, the ones that happened naturally, as well as those that are done with the advents of science.

Director Maria Arlamovsky globe trots in search of understanding the evolving and uncertain landscape of human reproduction in Future Baby, talking to scientists, aspiring parents, and growing families about in-vitro fertilization, freezing eggs, and gene manipulation. She follows a young woman who is a surrogate for a couple that is infertile, she allows a doctor to expound on the wonders of creating babies to the parent’s specifications, and chats with a scientist who scolds humanity’s ego and lack of accountability.

All this is done with an honest, open mind and a steady eye. Arlamovsky has a knack for setting up beautiful shots when there is seemingly not a lot going on, taking her time to establish whatever city she is in, and creating symmetrical, almost voyeuristic looks at various offices and homes.

Once in while she pipes up and asks a question, but for the most part, this doc is objective (to the extent is can be), wandering in and out of lives to explore the progress made by humans at creating more humans. More questions are raised than answers – those are left to the audience – but she offers plenty of different thoughts.

Insightful, funny, and occasionally alarming, Future Baby is presentation and depth without judgment; at least not too much judgment. However, there is a strange moment of reflection as Arlamovsky concludes the film, which loosely follows the stages of pregnancy through birth and childhood, except through multiples stories. We see a family with several kids, all through IVF, and not all of them anticipated. The entire film builds up questions and concerns and plans around having a baby, and at the end there is a mother: happy, thankful, and really, really tired. Maybe that’s all you need to know.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.