55th BFI London Film Festival 2011 – Review: Natural Selection (2011)

LGrima February 8, 2012 1
55th BFI London Film Festival 2011 – Review: Natural Selection (2011)

Natural Selection is a comedy-drama film starring Rachael Harris (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Matt O’Leary (Mothers Day), John Diehl (Miami Vice) and John Gries (Napoleon Dynamite). The film is directed by Robbie Pickering.

A woman eager to grant what could be her husband’s last wish ends up on a road trip with an ill-mannered criminal in this comedy from writer and director Robbie Pickering. Linda White (Rachael Harris) has been married for more than 20 years to Abe (John Diehl), a Christian so devout that he refuses to have sex with his wife; when the couple had trouble conceiving early in their marriage, a doctor discovered that Linda was infertile, and believing that sex without producing offspring is a sin, Abe insisted their union be celibate. Linda, an obedient spouse and devout Christian, has obeyed Abe’s edict, but when he suffers a stroke likely to claim his life, Linda makes a surprising discovery — Abe has been making frequent deposits at a sperm bank, and wants to meet one of the children he’s sired before he dies. Linda is able to track down one of the products of Abe’s seed, but Raymond (Matt O’Leary) is hardly the sort of son most folks wish for — he’s a mean-spirited prison escapee with a taste for drugs who agrees to travel from Florida to Texas with her only to avoid the cops who are on his trail. At first, Linda and Raymond mix as well as oil and water, but after a few days on the road the two discover they have a bit more in common than they expected. Natural Selection won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival.

Week two and my second day at London Film Festival. I’ll be honest that I’ve hardly looked up the lesser known films that have been playing, so in that case I knew nothing of Natural Selection. In some ways, I think this made the film even better as I didn’t have any expectations.

Rachael Harris is terrific as the devout christian wife whilst still trying to break from that mould. The demonstrates the right amount of drama with humorous elements that makes her character likeable and believable.

Matt O’Leary, who plays Abe’s son is a nice mixed character. He plays that southern grunge-drugged up running from the law loser really well. But as the film progresses and after certain events have passed you see a kinda, lighter side to him which is equally as pleasing.

On the whole Natural Selection is a very good film, and there is a lot to like as well. The cast is perfect, the story is sweet, funny and dramatic. It’s just a ruddy good watch and hopefully we’ll see a wider release of this.

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