We all wake up in the morning thinking that it will just be an ordinary day; there is no accounting for a simple twist of fate or random act. Just one choice can alter our entire future and steamroll a chain of events that changes our course of life. An entry in the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival the film Egg deals with these ideas and those that may be deemed unconventional. Written by Risa Mickenberg and directed by Marianna Palka (Good Dick, Bitch) the film also embodies the themes of this year’s festival of love, struggle, life and womanhood.
The film’s main character Tina played by Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black, Better Things) lives with her husband Wayne played by Gbenga Akinnagbe (The Wire, The Deuce) in a studio apartment. The film opens with Wayne riding his bicycle through the city with Tina standing behind him along for the ride. They ride freely on a beautiful day enjoying their surroundings without a care. Their day carries onward as they are set to meet Tina’s old art school friend Karen played by Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) and her husband Don played David Alan Basche (The Exes). The two couples could not be on further ends of the spectrum as Tina/Wayne live a more free life where Tina pursues her art while Wayne, unemployed, finds his own path. Don is considerably wealthy and Karen has chosen to abandon art to be a wife and mother.
The film captures that awkward feeling of being somewhere you do not want to be where Wayne is drinking alcohol to get through and Don hides no doubts about where he would rather be. It is that strange sensation of being pushed to do something by your significant other because they are friends… but are they really. In the first few interactions between Tina and Karen I got the vibe they were never that great of friends to begin with and rather they held on to the idea they had been at one time all this while. Tina is clearly stunned when Karen mentions she stopped her art although Tina goes on to mention how great her photography was yet Karen passes it off as it was just a fade in her life.
The film is divided into three chapters: “Tina” “Tina & Karen” “Tina & Karen & Kiki”. The first showing Tina’s lifestyle with Wayne and them meeting Karen and Don. Wayne and Don go on an errand leaving the two “friends” to get reacquainted for the second chapter. I feel this was the strongest part of the film just watching Tina and Karen interact on their own. They may not be best friends but there is still a bond between these women. Karen shares her doubts about having a child and insecurity that Don is having an affair. These are not random, throw away feelings they have an impact on Karen and even Tina as she listens and tries to give advice.
As mentioned earlier some themes could be considered unconventional and that is the idea of a woman not wanting to have a child or the pains and labors involved in pregnancy. Tina early in chapter one tries to one up Karen on her pregnancy by stating she too is pregnant but not really. Instead she and Wayne have chosen a surrogate named Kiki, played by Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect, True Blood), to implant with her egg. Tina tries to say how great this “project” is and that she is the creator and found a new way to live even allowing Kiki to be called the mother. Karen is stunned by this comment and cannot wrap her head around Tina’s project. Tina adds on that she has no desire to have a child let alone go through all aches that pregnancy invokes; she is only doing this because Wayne wants a baby.
Chapter three introduces Kiki, a seemingly one dimensional blonde bimbo, a role that seems under Camp’s abilities as an actress. Constrained by Tina and ogled by both Wayne and Don this is where the films more comical tones take over. Kiki with her 5 stages of womanhood monologue, Wayne caring too much of the needs of pregnant women, Don trying to hit on Kiki in front of everyone and a very pregnant Karen who just wants to leave. These elements take a strong turn when the feelings of an old abortion arise between Tina and Wayne. Feelings of doubt, uncertainty, being unloved, cast aside, awkwardness and utter loneliness swirl together within a few minutes in a storm of emotion. We are left with Tina standing alone surrounded by emotional debris.
Tina’s choices have brought her to where she is but it is not out of consequence but rather not being truthful with one’s self. Along with great performances from the cast the story of choice and being honest with yourself plays heavily. Tina wanted a relationship she knew she could not fully have and her “project” was nothing but a selfish ploy to keep what she thought she wanted. Tina has a choice to tell Don, which she has 100% reason to because Don was a dickhead, about Karen’s worry of his infidelities but she doesn’t allowing Karen to make her own path. Tina comes out of the situation stronger and able to stand proudly on her own following her own path.
Both Alysia Reiner and David Alan Basche who starred in the film are also married and both produced the film based on the strength of the script by Risa Mickenberg. They each felt this was a point of view/story not often told which immediately made Alysia want the role of Tina and David the role of Don simply because he was such a slimey prick. Egg presented a strong female point of view not often met warmly but regardless it is story worth telling because that is what our world is filled of, different stories and perspectives that help us obtain a broader view of the world we live in.
3 out of 5