The Cat’s Cradle by David Spaltro

A couple's pillow talk turns into a night of confessions and mutual betrayal that changes their relationship forever.

Married couple Jim and Amy — together for some time, with a long history to match — are trying to have a baby. But during one night of intimacy, their efforts to conceive begin to take a toll, revealing a set of long-buried secrets that rock the foundations of what seemed like a perfectly warm, loving marriage.

This short relationship drama takes place over the course of one evening, but it travels immense emotional terrain in its 15-minute runtime.

Writer and lead actress Tawny Sorensen adapted her short play into film form, bringing the sharp, well-paced dialogue to life with restless cinema-verite handheld camerawork that both captures the lively interaction of the characters as well as an increasing claustrophobia between them.

The story is anchored by compelling performances, and the two main characters play off each other perfectly — it’s easy to believe that these are two people who have known each for some time. They hint at an early underlying tension — Jim really wants to get a baby made, but Amy begins to feel the whole process is becoming mechanical and functional. But the tension goes much deeper, and when the fault lines are fully revealed, the emotional impact is explosive.

“The Cat’s Cradle” captures the stress and tension that some couples grapple with while dealing with fertility issues. But more universally, it’s also a cautionary tale about the cost of keeping deep truths and feelings unspoken in a relationship. In the end, the result is almost tragic: that two people who are supposed to share an intimacy in life are much farther apart than either could imagine.

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