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  1. The Surrogate is a tale about three nice people who get pregnant and then an extra chromosome sends their happy lives into a tailspin. While spinning, they face many of the difficult issues of American society. It’s an ambitious film, not completely successful, but so ardent and well-done that it’s going to be one of the best films of the year. Jess (the remarkable Jasmine Batchelor), black and beautiful and privileged, is the spoiled only daughter in a wealthy black New York City family. Her favorite buddy from her years at Radcliffe is a sweet, curly-haired white man, Josh (Chris Perfetti), whose husband is Aaron (Sullivan Jones), a successful black attorney. The gay men always wanted to have what other people have, including a child of their own. Jess, not really clued in to the lack of fulfillment in her own life, decides to give her besties what they want – she becomes the egg donor and surrogate for a child she shares with Josh. The three sign a contract outlining their duties and expenses--everything is hunky-dory exciting and oh-so 2020’s progressive –until they learn the unborn child has Down’s Syndrome (D.S.). The men’s agony is so heart-breaking you want to cry with them. But Jess, who has never experienced life’s curve balls, is convinced having the child is the right thing to do. She’s not only going to have the child, she’s going to single-handedly change society’s attitude toward disabled children. She is blithely dismissive of the men’s grief. Armed with internet research, she drags them to meet D.S. children and their families. She seeks advice from D.S. mothers-- but their realities, which we in the audience can see because all the actors are so marvelous—fly right over Jess’ head. When she hears “We want an abortion,” Jess demands all her legal rights to choose and charges into full warrior woman mode. No one’s going to come out unbloodied, least of all herself. The Surrogate, written and directed by newcomer Jeremy Hersh, is so real, the only way I could stand the tension was to keep reminding myself it was a movie. As a woman watching Jess’s unrelieved struggle –physical, emotional, moral--it was a riveting, unforgettable 92 minutes. The Surrogate opens on virtual cinema in June 2020 and then on the usual digital platforms. Length: 92 minutes To learn about Down’s Syndrome: go to www.ndss.org
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