Tamara Jenkins‘ Private Life (Netflix, 10.5) is a New York drama about a 40ish couple (Paul Giamatti, Kathryn Hahn) having fertility problems, and turning to a young niece (Kayli Carter) to step in as a surrogate mom. It’s a decent enough film — alternately intriguing, flinty, sad, trying, amusing, probing — but it doesn’t know how to wrap things up.
Honestly? I saw it nine months ago and I can’t quite remember how it ends. I recall that Carter spoiler spoiler spoiler but I forget why. Something to do with forgetting to take care of herself, something that goes wrong due to immaturity or carelessness. Giamatti and Hahn grim up and spoiler spoiler spoiler or they’re going to keep trying….something like that. I can’t recall.
HE movie-watching rule #17: If you can’t remember how a film ends, it’s the film’s fault — not yours. I think I became so disengaged and so impatient for something to happen that I regarded as fulfilling or satisfying that I just tuned out after a while. I respected it but not much more.
A friend agrees completely. “My recollection is that Giammati and Hahn are just going to keep going after the film ends…they’re going to keep trying to conceive. Which is exhausting to even think about. A good film in certain ways, but sorry, it’s no The Savages.”
HE to readership: Name a film that you admire or respect but you can’t quite recall how it ends. You may have a vague recollection of the finale but not a precise one. Obviously thats’ a significant flaw on the film’s part, but you still think it’s pretty good.