SHIVA BABY is Emma Seligman’s feature directorial debut. It’s a jarring, nothing-like-you’d-expect dark comedy that is both hilarious and exhausting.

Featuring great performances from newcomers Rachel Sennott (CALL YOUR MOTHER, HIGH MAINTENANCE) and Molly Gordon (BOOKSMART, GOOD BOYS) and my childhood crush Dianna Agron, SHIVA BABY is a coming of age story in a thriller’s coat. Seligman not only captures the harrowing, intricate and all-too-relatable story of attending a family gathering in your hometown at the ripe age of twenty-something, but also recreates that feeling and translates it well to audiences.

The heart, humor, romance and drama are all present, but the score and camera work offer something completely different. It’s as claustrophobic as MOTHER and as anxiety-inducing as GOOD TIME, and at times even reminded me of HEREDITARY. I know this probably sounds confusing, but it’s genuinely a “see it to believe it” sort of film – the duality works, and it works perfectly. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so uncomfortable while laughing out loud.

SHIVA BABY is available on video-on-demand now.

Justin Taing

Justin Taing is a lover of Ina Garten, rambles for two hours every second Monday on “Gem Radio”, and once was on a Zoom call with Tim Robinson, Japanese Breakfast, and Caroline Polachek


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