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Natural Selection

Chicago International Film Festival 2011

Natural Selection Directed by: Robbie Pickering Cast: Rachael Harris, Jon Gries, Matt O'Leary Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: NR Release Date: TBD

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PLOT: A woman goes to find a young man on behalf of her ailing husband. the man just so happens to be the result of her husband's sperm bank donation.

WHO'S IT FOR? This is definitely a more "adult" movie, but for fans of quirky sensibilities and sincere dramatics, Natural Selection certainly delivers.


Every so often, a movie comes out that manages to straddle that line between comedy and drama with such subtlety and elegance that words simply can’t do it justice. Natural Selection is that film. I think one of the things that is most perplexing and enchanting is that Natural Selection feels like it could very well be two different movies. While this normally indicates a problem with consistency, with this particular film, it’s something more complex. If you watched it with a more serious mindset, you’d get a completely different film from when you watched it with a more comedic tone.

Part of this is the general quirky nature of the story itself, but a great deal of credit goes to the stellar cast that brings the script to life. Rachael Harris does a great deal of the work, but there is no actor or actress in the film that doesn’t seem capable of carrying his/her own weight. Harris is perhaps the easiest recognize because of her being the lead character, but also because of my exposure to the actress before going into the film. She’s had guest spots on Modern Family, Cougar Town, as well as a regular appearance on VH1’s I Love the... series. She’s been memorable in each of these roles, but she’s become recognizable as a character. Natural Selection could not be further from that character. Where Harris has played ferocious, her character Linda is painfully meek. But it is her evolution as a character that makes Natural Selection such an impressive film. Even when the film strays down a familiar avenue, the end result is such a departure from my expectations and a true testament to what this woman has been through and what she has become.

There are a number of reasons to fall in love with Natural Selection. Fans of quirky comedy will be happy to see a showcase of the comedic talents of the cast. For those who are more dramatically inclined, there is a fair amount to keep them interested. But ultimately, Natural Selection is for storytellers. Through all the unusual circumstances, Natural Selection is, at its heart, a sincere story of a woman finding herself.


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