“Unexpected” (2015) – Review by Clay Bloodworth

unexpected cobie

‘Unexpected’ great all-around

“Unexpected”, the new film from writer/director Kris Swanberg, is one of the few movies that I’ve been truly impressed by this year. I’ve definitely been hugely affected by other pictures – from “Clouds of Sils Maria” to “Manglehorn” – but the title of Swanberg’s latest feature tells all. It wasn’t something I expected to enjoy quite as much as I did, and that’s what made the experience all the more rewarding. Its all-around great feel is not only due to the fantastic work behind the camera, but from its two leads Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean as well. Together, they just might be the most vibrant and funny on-screen pair of recent memory.

Smulders, who’s most known for her roles in the “The Avengers” and the television series “Agents of Shield”, plays a Chicago high-school teacher who discovers she’s pregnant along with one of her graduating students. The two form an immediate bond, with Smulders’ character trying her best to get the promising student accepted at the nearby Illinois University. And, obviously, the film is mainly about them dealing with their shared situation. The setup isn’t particularly original, but that is easily overlooked once we see this delightful acting duo in full swing. Cobie Smulders succeeds in distancing herself from some of her larger-scale work, and the proper introduction of newcomer Gail Bean is certainly well-deserved. Their infectious back-and-forth compels you to keep watching and ultimately care about what happens to their characters.

Beyond that, the film is beautifully shot and tightly edited (coming in at around ninety minutes). The camera never really strays from our two main characters, and this adds to the already intimate quality of the film. It undoubtedly solidifies Kris Swanberg as an important dramatic director, and serves as a perfect antidote for those tired of this summer’s blockbusters. If you get the chance to see this wonderful little movie, take it. “Unexpected” is now playing in select theaters and available On Demand.

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