This Week In Trailers: Baby Done, Herself, Ringmaster, Deaf U, The Disrupted

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising?

This week, we host a baby reveal with Taika Waititi without all the pyrotechnics, have our side hustle be our main hustle, learn ASL at the local university, give some kids a home, and go hunting for onion rings.

Baby Done

Director Curtis Vowell is giving me a reason to live.

When Zoe and Tim find out they are having a baby, they resolve to not let parenthood change them but Zoe’s increasing denial about her impending birth pushes her, and her relationship, to the limit.

It’s just nice, OK? These kinds of movies seem like a time capsule of cinema gone by and I’m here for it all. You’ve got Taika Waititi executive producing this thing along with the producer of Tickled, Jojo Rabbit, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, so it deserves a little more than just a passing glance. For some reason the absurdity of everything in this trailer is very soothing. Maybe it’s my need for some levity and a little bit of cheekiness wrapped in a blanket of uncertainty for a woman who’s unsure she’s ready to be a mom, but I’m feeling every moment of this story.

Herself

For director Phyllida Lloyd this is very much unlike her past efforts of The Iron Lady and Mamma Mia!.

Sandra (Clare Dunne), on the surface of it, is a young Mum struggling to provide her two young daughters with a warm, safe, happy home to grow up in. Beneath the surface, Sandra has a steely determination to change their lives for the better and when it becomes clear that the local council won’t provide that home, she decides to build it herself from scratch. With very little income to speak of and no savings, Sandra must use all her ingenuity to make her ambitious dream a reality. At the same time, she must escape the grip of her possessive ex-husband and keep him away from her and her girls. The lionhearted Sandra draws together a community of friends to support her and lend a helping hand and it is the kindness and generosity of these people and the love of her young daughters that help build her own strength and sense of self.

If Baby Done was about having a good time reflecting on the promise of what it means to be a mom, this is swinging us in the very opposite direction. The trailer is an emotional punch to the face since the narrative isn’t so easily digestible. You have a single mom trying to make a go of things with her two kids, and all she wants is a place she can call home. It absolutely is not an immediate feel-good story, but by the time we get to the back half of things, I want to see how this all turns out. Tears will be surely generated upon viewing.

Deaf U

Here’s a segment of society that, oddly, gets little attention.

Deaf U is a coming-of-age reality series following a tight-knit group of Deaf students at Gallaudet University, a renowned private college for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, in Washington, D.C.

As the group of friends navigate the high, lows, and hookups of college life together, their stories offer an unprecedented, unfiltered, and often unexpected look inside Deaf community.

If Love on the Spectrum challenged many of our notions of what autism is, this show looks to show that being Deaf has its own way of communicating, of being, of belonging. The ginned-up drama that plagues so many of these “reality” shows seems to be a little subdued but, for me, that’s the charm. There has been so little representation of the Deaf community with programming like this, it’s refreshing to see what “normal” looks like for part of our citizenry making their way in a world not designed for them. I’m hooked already.

The Disrupted

Directors Sarah Colt and Josh Gleason are talking about America.

What do a farmer in Kansas, a laid-off factory worker in Ohio, and an Uber driver in Florida have in common? All three are resourceful, positive thinkers who strive to adapt and thrive despite dehumanizing forces at play in the American economy. As the film’s heroes face these roadblocks with courage, certain ideals remain sacred: family, love, and staying strong in the face of adversity. Lush cinematography galvanizes a sense of place and, as the narrative unfolds, the intimacy with the characters results in an emotionally rich observational drama. Ultimately, THE DISRUPTED reveals a collective American experience of financial challenge, family resilience, and the quest for the purpose and dignity of work.

I get that this isn’t pleasure viewing. This kind of content is challenging, if only to see how some of our fellow Americans have to make their way in the world. It’s certainly a small sample size but these kinds of stories are inspiring because they invite all of us to think about the nature of work, what makes us feel like contributing members of society, and the plights of those who are less fortunate. Again, not the stuff of the silver screen, but these are the narratives of people who are struggling and fighting to make life worth living.

Ringmaster

Directors Molly Dworsky and Dave Newberg are after my own heart.

Upon his grandfather’s death, a recovering gambling addict uses his inheritance to make a documentary about well-known onion rings from his childhood and the beloved Minnesotan chef who makes them. The project changes drastically when the filmmaker becomes hellbent on improving the humble fry cook’s life, despite discovering his subject wants nothing to do with the film. The movie becomes something else entirely when the crew members secretly turn the cameras on the filmmaker, documenting his efforts and failures over a three year journey.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but this could end up being the best documentary I see this year. The subject matter is so bonkers, and the content looks so nutty. I’m not sure if it’s the quarantine talking or it’s my genuine interest in seeing how this strange story ultimately unfolds. I mean, just read that story description. It’s like if Overnight was about onion rings instead of being about a director who’s a sociopath. Though, to be fair, this director looks like he’s walking a fine line ethically too. It makes no sense whatsoever, and it shouldn’t be as thrilling as this trailer makes it out to be, but I want all of this in my eyes as soon as possible.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers for possible inclusion in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at [email protected] or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week: