Private Life – Review

Genre Comedy, Drama
Directed by Tamara Jenkins
Starring Paul Giamatti, Kathryn Hahn, Kayli Carter, Molly Shannon, John Carroll Lynch, Desmin Borges, Denis O’Hare
Released on January 18, 2018(Sundance), October 5, 2018 (United States)
Duration 123 minutes
Flixxpanda Rating 9/10
Channel Netflix

Netflix’s latest original movie Private Life directed by Tamara Jenkins. Exactly! She’s back after a gap of 11 years! The last time we saw something of hers was back in 2007 (The Savages).That makes this one of the greatest comebacks ever and honestly, this is a masterpiece of a film. It is incredible, so hats off to her.

Private Life opens with the leading couple, Richard (Paul Giamatti) and Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) in the middle of a fertility treatment process. In fact, the first thing we see is Richard administering an injection to Rachel’s backside! It’s funny in the moment but also leaves you with an idea of what the movie is all about.

Well, Rachel’s new book is about to be released and Richard runs a pickle company. They live in a small but cozy home on the East Village block. It’s quaint, not very urban, no skyscrapers and very home-y. The two are nice (bold and underlined) people. That’s the very first thought that came to my mind. They could be rude considering the strain they’re under and the misery lurking just beneath the surface but they still manage to be sweet, to each other as well as to those around them.

They’ve lived good lives and they’re financially stable. But, they desperately long for a child. Richard with one testicle has a sperm ‘blockage’, which although unfortunate still made me smile (I’m not a sadist I swear!). Rachel on the other hand, is unable to conceive no matter what.

Richard and Rachel’s relationship is that of two people who’ve known each other for a very long time. There’s a certain intimacy you only get when you’ve been with someone that long. They’re both witty with sharp tongues and sharper senses of humor. That’s clearly evident when Richard is telling Rachel that at least she’ll get to carry the baby, she responds asking if that makes her the bellhop. It hurts to see what they’re going through, but it also cracks you up and stops the film from becoming too serious and a sob story throughout.

As the two go through the various ways of getting pregnant, the strain on their relationship builds until the two start to sort of break. That’s when it starts to get dark and gives you a glimpse of how it actually feels to be in that position. They’re happy marriage slowly starts eroding.

The film’s title, “Private Life” is ironic, because what is supposed to be private somehow ends up becoming public information with all the people who they have to talk to about their issues. They sacrifice what are usually hushed whispers in the bedroom up to doctors, co-workers, friends, family and on and on. It’s not easy but their ardent desire for something so pure is beautiful.

The film does give those who need it some potentially useful information and while it is wonderful and soulful, it has a limited audience. It’s a Netflix release so its already a small opening. Further, the targeted audience would possibly be the couples who are going through something similar. I don’t think anyone else would watch it. I wish more people gave the film a chance though. It will melt you heart.

Private Life will make you laugh with a lump in your throat. It will make you cry but also leave you feeling warm and content. It’s one of the most perfect movies I have ever seen.

Video Credit – Netflix | YouTube

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