Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Womb

Shallow drama about a woman who tries to replace a lost love through cloning.

March 28, 2012

-By Ray Bennett


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1323338-Womb_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

There is an old joke about a woman who had a glass bellybutton. She had a womb with a view, which is more than can be said for Benedek Fliegauf's Womb, a sappy drama about human cloning that has no point of view at all.

In a sense, it's a film about a woman (Eva Green) who goes to extraordinary lengths just to get laid. When her lover is killed in a road accident, she goes to her local Department of Genetic Replication and bears a cloned child. The woman raises him until he's the absolute spitting image of her deceased amour (Matt Smith) and then goes about eyeing him with lustful indications of heightened excitement.

Gorgeous seaside vistas, the ineffable beauty of Green, the growing international fame of Smith (the BBC's new Doctor Who) and the fascinating topic should be enough to create some spark at the box office, but it's unlikely to go forth and multiply.

It's clear that young Rebecca (Ruby O. Fee) and Thomas (Tristan Christopher) are a match because they live close to each other on a beautiful stretch of windswept beach and love to go exploring. They share excitement in flotsam and jetsam and delight in examining assorted sea creatures, and it's sad when the girl's parents take her off to live in Japan.

These scenes are quite lovely to watch, and cinematographer Peter Szatmari's images remain so throughout the picture. Not least when Rebecca returns 12 years later in the form of Green, whom the camera loves nothing better.

Tommy (Smith) is smitten instantly and drops his latest pickup, and they swoon into destiny—until he steps in front of a van. Shattered, Rebecca is drawn toward the local replication clinic, which is the only indication the story is set some time in the future. Tommy's parents (Lesley Manville and Peter Wight) think it's a bad idea, though, and promptly move away.

Fliegauf's screenplay raises the issue of cloned humans being the victim of prejudice just like any other alien, legal or otherwise, but just as soon drops it. He toys with the ethical issue of human cloning but runs away from it too.

It all seems to be about Rebecca's hunka hunka burnin' love, and prospects brighten for something macabre at their remote oceanside shack when teenage Tommy brings home pretty young Monica (Hannah Murray) and Mom takes on the airs of a woman scorned.

The carving knives appear suddenly attractive in the kitchen, but perhaps she will be content to explain to the creature she has borne that his daddy's not his daddy, but his daddy don't know. Or will it be straight to bed?

If the Hungarian writer-director, working in English, had been willing to strike out more boldly, the answer to these questions would have some power, and the film might have become more than an intriguing premise and pretty pictures.
The Hollywood Reporter


Film Review: Womb

Shallow drama about a woman who tries to replace a lost love through cloning.

March 28, 2012

-By Ray Bennett


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1323338-Womb_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

There is an old joke about a woman who had a glass bellybutton. She had a womb with a view, which is more than can be said for Benedek Fliegauf's Womb, a sappy drama about human cloning that has no point of view at all.

In a sense, it's a film about a woman (Eva Green) who goes to extraordinary lengths just to get laid. When her lover is killed in a road accident, she goes to her local Department of Genetic Replication and bears a cloned child. The woman raises him until he's the absolute spitting image of her deceased amour (Matt Smith) and then goes about eyeing him with lustful indications of heightened excitement.

Gorgeous seaside vistas, the ineffable beauty of Green, the growing international fame of Smith (the BBC's new Doctor Who) and the fascinating topic should be enough to create some spark at the box office, but it's unlikely to go forth and multiply.

It's clear that young Rebecca (Ruby O. Fee) and Thomas (Tristan Christopher) are a match because they live close to each other on a beautiful stretch of windswept beach and love to go exploring. They share excitement in flotsam and jetsam and delight in examining assorted sea creatures, and it's sad when the girl's parents take her off to live in Japan.

These scenes are quite lovely to watch, and cinematographer Peter Szatmari's images remain so throughout the picture. Not least when Rebecca returns 12 years later in the form of Green, whom the camera loves nothing better.

Tommy (Smith) is smitten instantly and drops his latest pickup, and they swoon into destiny—until he steps in front of a van. Shattered, Rebecca is drawn toward the local replication clinic, which is the only indication the story is set some time in the future. Tommy's parents (Lesley Manville and Peter Wight) think it's a bad idea, though, and promptly move away.

Fliegauf's screenplay raises the issue of cloned humans being the victim of prejudice just like any other alien, legal or otherwise, but just as soon drops it. He toys with the ethical issue of human cloning but runs away from it too.

It all seems to be about Rebecca's hunka hunka burnin' love, and prospects brighten for something macabre at their remote oceanside shack when teenage Tommy brings home pretty young Monica (Hannah Murray) and Mom takes on the airs of a woman scorned.

The carving knives appear suddenly attractive in the kitchen, but perhaps she will be content to explain to the creature she has borne that his daddy's not his daddy, but his daddy don't know. Or will it be straight to bed?

If the Hungarian writer-director, working in English, had been willing to strike out more boldly, the answer to these questions would have some power, and the film might have become more than an intriguing premise and pretty pictures.
The Hollywood Reporter
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Small Time
Film Review: Small Time

You might not buy a used car from the guys in Small Time, but you will enjoy the movie about their exploits, even their exploitations (of others). More »

Fading Gigolo
Film Review: Fading Gigolo

Some top screen talent gets lost in the silliness surrounding the amorous adventures of an unlikely gigolo and his even more unlikely pimp, with writer/director/actor John Turturro the shtupper “ho” co-starring with Woody Allen as the mercenary shtup-enabler. Yarmulkes off to Turturro’s brave but deeply ill-conceived comedic foray into Brooklyn’s Satmar Hasidic community and other alien territory. More »

A Promise
Film Review: A Promise

Handsomely filmed but wan period romance. More »

Final Member
Film Review: The Final Member

Breezy documentary about the aging owner of a small Icelandic museum dedicated to penises and his quest for one last, coveted exhibit is a charmer, thanks to the warmth and sly sense of humor the protagonist brings to his unusual hobby. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Transcendence
Film Review: Transcendence

Johnny Depp is an idealistic researcher whose consciousness is uploaded into an artificial intelligence in this slick techno-thriller with delusions of seriousness from Christopher Nolan’s cinematographer. More »

Draft Day
Film Review: Draft Day

Pro football manager faces crises on the most important day of his career in a well-tooled vehicle for Kevin Costner. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here