Shiva Baby

Shiva Baby ★★★½

Calling this movie stressful at this point feels redundant amongst the influx of reviews that focus entirely on this aspect. It's for this reason that I was nervous to go see it in a theater today despite having already seen it a little while ago - especially as my entire family is Jewish and so I figured it would be ever more relatable. Something about the fact that my own initial experience with the film played no part in my apprehension to go see this should have tipped me off that I wasn't as infatuated with this film as everyone else seems to be.

To be clear, I think that from every aspect of filmmaking this is an astoundingly impressive accomplishment - it would be even for a seasoned filmmaker, so the fact that this is a debut only accentuates my admiration for the craft. My issue arises from the hyper-specificity of its story: the rising anxiety only partly comes from the gathering of extended family pressuring her about her life and her future, and moreso from her *very* specific situation of her ex girlfriend and her married sugar daddy attending the same gathering. It keeps mounting on top of itself, making for an incredibly anxious experience in the moment but at a certain point it loses the necessary relatability, the universality that would have made it stick with me once the credits started rolling.

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