Six Dark Films About Pregnancy

By Matt Prigge
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted May. 15, 2012

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What to Expect When You're Expecting

Brink of Life (1958): Soon after doing a film about death (The Seventh Seal), Ingmar Bergman made one about birth. It was no less pessimistic. Of the three women who take up residence in a maternity ward, both Ingrid Thulin and Eva Dahlbeck suffer miscarriages while Bibi Andersson, having already had one abortion prior, contemplates another. Happy belated Mother’s Day!

Rosemary’s Baby (1968): Roman Polanski’s classy film based on a trashy Ira Levin bestseller uses a satanic fertilization to examine the dehumanizing aspects of pregnancy. Take away the devil-worshipping neighbors and you still have the chilling experience of watching Mia Farrow recoil at her changing body and changing life.

Hail Mary (1985): A student named Marie finds herself knocked up, despite the fact that she’s never had sex. Sound familiar? Jean-Luc Godard’s modern-day reworking of biblical lore reduces the tale to a woman coming to grips with her changing body. The liberal use of casual, full-frontal nudity, coupled with the obvious blaspheming, predictably drew the ire of Pope John Paul II, who criticized without condemning a film that depicted holiness entirely from the woman’s point of view.

Baby Blood (1990): Before there was the absurd French blood-a-thon Inside, in which Béatrice Dalle tries to remove a woman’s fetus with cutlery, or even Jan Svankmajer’s Little Otik, wherein a barren couple will life into a hungry tree stump, there was Alain Robak’s comedy in which a pregnant woman’s womb is invaded by an alien parasite and demands a steady diet of fresh blood.

Citizen Ruth (1996): The most savage film about abortion mocks both anti- and pro-choice sides, with Laura Dern (never better) as glue-sniffing white trash who just happens to be freshly preggers. Both sides seize upon her, and though both get belittled and satirized, one comes out a lot less dirty than the other.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012): An ensemble film that includes miscarriage, infertility, parental reluctance, financial despair, awful fathers who have driven their spawn to crippling pathologies and all manner of unpleasant and grotesque side effects brought on by pregnancy. But don’t worry, folks: It’s a sunny and inane comedy.

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