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The Independent Critic

Shaina Feinberg, Chris Manley
Shaina Feinberg, Chris Manley
75 Mins.


 "The Babymooners" Plays 2016 Indy Film Festival 
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I have a confession.

I watched The Babymooners twice before sitting down to write this review.

Now then, I'd like to pretend that I did so just because I was wildly in love with the film but, in all honesty, that really wasn't it. The truth is that the first time around I simply felt like I'd missed something.

What wasn't I getting? Did I miss the film's vibe? Did I not understand it? Something just felt off.

While I was in a bit of a time crunch, I simply didn't feel like I could give the film a fair review without watching it again. So, I did.

Now? I get it.

The film stars and is written and directed by real life couple Shaina Feinberg and Chris Manley, and for those not in the know a "Babymoon" is a relaxing vacation taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born. It's kind of the last hurrah, or so I've heard, before life becomes consumed by piles o' diapers, potty training, sporadic sex, child-rearing and just about everything but indulging in the relationship that actually made it all happen.

Feinberg and Manley? They don't actually take a "babymoon," but Feinberg sits down two weeks before her due date to write a video letter for her unborn son, a video letter that becomes a series of vignettes including her newly sober husband, her goofy Upper West Side parents, an adorable Shih Tzu mix, an overly anxious shrink and her own views on daytime television. With hints of the Woody Allen style of filmmaking, The Babymooners is a frequently funny, awfully endearing, rather experimental and introspective diary that takes us inside their relationship and, perhaps even moreso, inside Feinberg's rather endearing neuroses and anxieties about parenting, the fear of losing her creativity as part of parenting and, perhaps in an unspoken way, that anxiety over bringing a child into their cool yet flawed little world.

The Babymooners is practically an ideal indie fest type of film. Both Feinberg and Manley make for interesting subjects and, despite their anxieties, one can't help but think that this entire project of making this film, THIS was their "babymoon," was therapeutic and joyful and something they will treasure for the rest of their lives as they embark on the parenting journey. The quirkiest and most fun entry amongst this year's American Spectrum films at Indie Film Fest, The Babymooners screens one more time at Indy Film Fest on July 20th at 1:15pm in Indianapolis Museum of Art's Toby Theatre. For more information on the film, visit the Indy Film Fest website.

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic