Starring: Haley Lu Richardson, Barbie Ferreira, Giancarlo Esposito
Director: Rachel Lee Goldenberg
Running Time: 103 mins
Unpregnant is an American film about a 17 year-old girl who discovers she is pregnant, and so sets out with her friend on a road trip across four states to have an abortion.
In part a fun-loving road trip and equally a serious and touching tale about the reality of getting an abortion, Unpregnant is a genuinely wonderful film. More than just a coming-of-age buddy movie, the film delights with joyful human comedy and drama, bolstered by a stirring and deeply important message at the end.
There’s so much to love about this movie, it’s difficult to know where to start. However, if there’s one thing about Unpregnant that’s totally irresistible, it’s the leading performances from Haley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira.
An odd couple at first, the pair have a good Thelma & Louise dynamic between them, but really stand out as individuals. The film follows the ups and downs of a complex friendship, and both Richardson and Ferreira impress hugely with immense likeability and real dramatic resonance.
Ferreira stands out as so much more than just a sidekick, as the story seems to set her up early on, combining both a brilliantly funny side with a passionate performance. Richardson, meanwhile, puts in her best turn since her outstanding performance in Support The Girls, with wonderful on-screen energy throughout that makes even her flawed character an utter joy to watch.
As a buddy comedy, the film banks on the pair’s excellent chemistry and delights with energetic and consistent humour from start to finish. It’s never juvenile or gratuitously chaotic, but the movie has a wonderful fun-loving side which, coupled with the scale of the road trip the pair embark on, makes it a really enjoyable rollercoaster ride.
You’ll be laughing and smiling right the way through here, but it’s the way that the film finishes that makes it really stand out. In the final act, a more serious message about the realities of young women getting abortions takes precedent, as we see the frustration in Richardson’s character at the enormous lengths she has to go to just to have a simple abortion.
It’s a sobering truth that isn’t recognised enough, and the film deals with it a unique and memorable way, with the chaos of the road trip serving as a clear example of just how inaccessible a simple operation can be.
But even more than that, the film’s final few moments serve as a powerful and necessary explanation of what an abortion actually is, showing girls the process of the operation and that it isn’t something to be scared or ashamed of. It’s a wonderful way to finish the film that shows the filmmakers really care about the core message, providing an important service that few other films are prepared to offer.
Overall, I loved Unpregnant. A wonderful, fun-loving road trip comedy that really stands out thanks to its passionate and touching dramatic themes, the movie delights with great humour, two delightful performances and an important, moving message. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.8.