Baby Gravy

By Marley Morrison | Drama
A same-sex couple waits at roadside restaurant for the arrival of a man called Karl.

Brona and Alex are at a rural pub just off a busy motorway. The two women are a couple, but their waiting for a man they’ve never met before. They’re nervous, tense and excited all at once — they’re hoping the man will donate the sperm so they can have a baby.

The man is delayed, however, and all their insecurities about parenting and becoming a family begin to spill out into the open. Brona takes the process very seriously — almost too seriously — while Alex’s optimistic, casual attitude rubs her the wrong way. When their original choice of donor seems to fall through, Brona suggests another candidate, and Alex’s own insecurity comes up to the surface.

Writer-director Marley Morrison’s dramedy is a warm, funny and incredibly engaging portrait of a lesbian couple trying to start a family, leaning on terrific writing and performances to capture the unique emotional terrain that same-sex couples must cross in order to have a child.

Actors Jade Anouka and Sophia Di Martino play Alex and Brona, respectively, with great wit and empathy, able to hit all the funny notes of the writing while still showing the anxieties and uncertainties that they face in the process of trying to conceive. They’re often caught between the desire to do the “traditional” or “normal” way of doing things, versus the reality that their process of expanding their family is anything but.

But one advantage they do have is that because of this embrace of non-tradition, the couple are forced to communicate more openly and honestly with one another. And because of that, their tender love and loyalty for one another — no matter if they have a child or not — comes through, especially when things don’t go planned.

The short is shot with an unassuming grace, with polished but naturalistic cinematography that heightens the suburban setting, reflecting the hopes and emotions of Brona as she waits to make her baby. The setting also reflects the flux of Brona and Alex’s dilemma, the sense of life is passing by these characters by that is felt by the couple — but also their situation’s everyday humanity in the end. The great gift of “Baby Gravy” is how it leans into the specifics of this lesbian couple’s baby-making, but in the end captures the enduring, hard-won tenderness and commitment that characterize any loving family at its core.

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