Private Life – A Review Haiku

Written by Tamara Jenkins
Directed by Tamara Jenkins


A couple in their 40s take every route available to try and get pregnant, facing some hard truths along the way.


Feels Like A Fresh Tale;
Genuinely Affecting;
Smart, Funny And Sad.




I knew nothing about this going in, and simply clicked because Netflix has done a good job lately with original movies and everyone loves Paul Giamatti. This one definitely doesn’t disappoint, giving a fresh take on the midlife marriage crises arc, as the whole two hours are spent with the couple’s trials and tribulations around conception. It can be pretty raw, but also produces some huge, unexpected laughs, balancing its drama and comedy quite well and rounding out its characters effectively. Though we are dropped into the scenario after the couple has already been trying for a presumably long time, we immediately get a sense of their struggle and how it has affected them as people, artists (they are both in theater) and most importantly as a unit. The supporting cast does a very good job, though I wish those characters had more screen time and there were some missed opportunities there, as the deeper family drama could have been explored more thoroughly. But the script has a lot to say about the power of perseverance and just how much your choices (and maybe obsessions) can affect those around you, especially when you use your own pain to blind you to that of others. We see movies all the time about the struggles of parenthood, but what about those who can’t seem to reach that milestone, no matter how hard they try? Those stories deserve to be told as well, which makes this a welcome watch. It can be heavy, but never feels melodramatic or manipulative, and although the second act takes it into territory that may be a head-shaker for some, I felt that the decisions they made perfectly fit their motivations. It’s a mature film about a mature subject, but makes sure to keep you smiling and lifts you up when you need it to. Which, come to think of it, serves as a great metaphor for a marriage. The final scene is beautifully done, and I can’t remember seeing a film that used the simple act of the credits rolling this effectively.

Have you seen Private Life? What did you think? Drop a comment below and head over to our Facebook Community for much more discussion!

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