Unexpected is not your average pregnancy flick. It’s an honest portrait of the struggles and sacrifices of motherhood from the perspective of two unlikely friends. Samantha Abbot (How I Met Your Mother’s Cobie Smulders), an inner-city high school teacher, learns of her own pregnancy at around the same time she learns of the pregnancy of one of her most promising students, Jasmine (Gail Bean). The film focuses on the impact of Sam’s (Smulders) pregnancy on the various facets of her life including her relationship with boyfriend turned husband John (Workaholics’ Anders Holm), her tumultuous relationship with her judgmental mother (Elizabeth McGovern), and most significantly her career. This film tackles the real anxieties of a modern mother-to-be from a genuinely female perspective. Director and co-writer Kris Swanburg drew inspiration from personal experiences as she explains to The Knockturnal, “A lot of the anxieties and sort of the emotions for me that Cobie’s character goes through in the film is what I was really going through when I was pregnant with my son.”
The film captures the overwhelming nature of an unexpected pregnancy for all women, while also shedding light on how the differences of age, race, socioeconomic standing, and personal history affect the unique experience of each mother-to-be. Gail Bean’s impressively authentic performance as Jasmine creates a heart-wrenching parallel with Miss. Abott (Smulders) and serves to deepen the emotionality and impact of this film. Swanburg speaks of Bean’s portrayal of Jasmine saying, “I wanted for that character to not just be this precocious, wise-beyond-her-years teenager but also you know, a real teenager. And she did that fantastically.” Bean makes her Indie-mainstream debut with Unexpected as a talented actor of only 22 and proves her acting credibility in her emotional portrayal of Jasmine.
Cobie Smulders’ performance was unlike anything she’s ever done before as she takes on this emotionally layered role and delicately reveals to the audience the plethora of emotions that her character experiences. Her co-star, Anders Holm, speaks to her versatility saying, “She’s not just like funny. She can nail the drama.” Holm himself delivers a solid, though more understated performance as John, Sam’s (Smulders) boyfriend turned husband. The film’s excellent script pushes all of the actors involved to reach beyond what they’ve previously done and to succeed in portraying honest, relatable characters with impressive emotional depth.
Smulders speaks to Swanburg’s talent saying, “This is one of her first movies but she is a pro and really knowledgeable about allowing moments to happen and to have a breath.” Swanburg’s passive control and delicate hand result in a natural film that is anything but forced. She expresses her goals saying, “I also wanted to make a film about kind of motherhood and what it means to be a mother and who we think is deserving to be a mother.” She succeeded in doing that and so much more with her Indie-mainstream debut Unexpected, out in select theaters July 24.[slideshow post_id=””]
After the BAMcinemaFest, everyone headed to No. 7 for a fabulous party presented by by Sabra Dipping Co.
Check out the official trailer below.