Everything Put Together

Movie Review by Alice Castle

Starring: Radha Mitchell, Megan Mullally, Justin Louis, Catherine Lloyd Burns, Alan Ruck
Director: Marc Forster

If you’re pregnant – or your partner or somebody close to you is, don’t even think about going to see this film. It could well put you off, not because of the childbirth scenes (they’re suitably un-graphic – a relief for the squeamish), but for the worst-case scenario story of new parenthood.

Angie and Russ are two attractive young professionals living in a large interior designed house, madly in love with each other and surrounded by friends and like-minded neighbours. Life is complete, but they’ve reached that age where all their friends have started to sprog and social engagements are geared round baby showers, christenings and the kind of one year old babies parties where no expense is spared, despite the fact that the birthday boy or girl is completely unaware. We join Angie at the end of her pregnancy, anxious that everything is normal and filling her time until the big day by buying blankets and little white garments ready to be puked on.

After pre-natal class one afternoon, Angie’s friend goes into labour and it’s Angie who gets her to the hospital and holds her hand throughout the birth. In return her friend asks her to be the godmother of the new child – an honour Angie is happy to accept. A few days later it’s Angie’s turn and she gives birth to a little boy Gabriel. All is perfect and the parents are absolutlely delighted but less than 24 hours later Gabriel has become a victim of cot death, what the Americans call SIDS – sudden infant death syndrome. We’re told that more children die of SIDS, than those who die of cancer, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, heart disease, AIDS and pneumonia put together.

As if she were a leper, Angie’s friends keep away, unable to cope with the situation, and even her mother is too busy to visit. It’s as if the glossy, happy people with all their ‘I love yous’ and happy families have been torn out the lifestyle magazine and blown away in the wind. Angie gets increasingly more depressed and isolated as society, embarrassed at her situation shuns her. Determined to find out what happened to her baby, Angie tries to make sense of her loss. And the whole film done on hand-held DV makes you feel as if you are watching a real life tragedy played out beautifully by Radha Mitchell, and not a bad Channel 5 TV movie.

5 out of 6 stars

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