18 June 2024

Film Review – Shiva Baby (2021)

Undeniably intricate, hilarious, sarcastic observational comedy had me cringing as much as laughing through a masterclass of filmmaking by writer, director Emma Seligman alongside a flurry of brilliant performances, led by an exuberant, Rachel Sennott as Danielle.

Told throughout the brisk passages of a single day predominately within a traditional Shiva memorial following the burial of a Jewish relative, we witness blasé Danielle on arrival immediately after a money grab sex visit to her sugar daddy date, mop -top Max (Danny Deferrari).

Her loving parents are bias in their support for her, but trouble and confusion often follow Danielle, today is no different.

Ex-girlfriend Maya is in attendance, secretly still pining for her adoration, but Danielle seems to dismiss any attempts of reconnection. There’re typical elongated conversations from elders enquiring about personal issues that Dannielle mostly avoids, then in walks Max, closely followed by entrepreneur wife Kim (Dianna Agron) with newborn baby.

Related: Shiva Baby writer/director Emma Seligman on the organised chaos of low budget film making |

Shiva Baby, manages to accomplish real life family embarrassments ramping them up a few notches into darkly comic situations one after another.

A real modernism of youth also unfolds, from language to expectations to disillusionment to trends through an effervescent screenplay and an array of covenant acting.

Significant aura surrounding, Molly Gordon (Booksmart – 2019) and legendary character actor, Fred Malamed (Shadows and Fog – 1991) just two of an outrageously good cast.

Unique, exorbitant Sennott, simply a revelation, invested to all her character traits, toxic, lovable or otherwise.
Let’s hope Rachel also toplines a potential sequel, Diva Baby!

One of the movies of the year for me complemented by a classy string heavy score composed like a horror movie by, Ariel Marx.


Comedy | USA, 2020 | 15 | Out Now | MUBI | Dir.Emma Seligman | Rachel Sennott, Molly Gordon, Polly Draper, Dianna Agron, Fred Melamed

Follow Shane A.Bassett on Twitter @movie_analyst

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