I'll admit that going into this film I was really unsure of what to expect. Tradition, religion, and of course, being gay and coming out of the closet - are all very tough topics for an indie production to tackle... properly and all at once. And a comedy as well? As I wrote, I just wasn't sure what to expect. When you consider that even large studio productions seem prone to failing miserably when tackling even one of the above-mentioned topics - there didn't seem to be a lot of hope. Then, I hit the play button and before I knew it I was hooked. I'm not writing that there are not times when "The Last Conception" doesn't feel independent, but this film seemed to have something really going for it. What was that you ask? Although I can't be one hundred percent certain, it just felt like there was a tiny bit of magic at work here - that all the pieces just came together and gelled. So many productions have individual elements and aspects that shine, but never really mesh into a truly great film - this is not one of those. Gabriela Ledsma has helmed an excellent movie with a little something for everyone... comfort food for genre lovers. I won't go so far as to say this film has Hallmark written all over it, but at times it sure felt like it. I mean that as a compliment.
As spoiler-free as possible, in this film, Savarna Sikand is a gay woman with a problem. She hasn't "come out" to her family and as events unfold, she ends up at a family dinner at her parent's house with her date Charlie - and tell them at that moment. This happens right after a conversation about her not being married and having a child to carry on the family line. Things go better than they could have gone, but not as good as Savarna had wished or hoped. Her family warms up pretty fast however, and her mother and Charlie end up getting along splendidly. It's around this point that Savarna's grandmother flies in from India - and Savarna learns the true nature of her family lineage. It's a big reveal, to say the least.
We also have Savarna's best friend Jackson who eventually, agrees to help her and Charlie have a baby - but things don't quite go so smoothly... at first. It's safe to say that "The Last Conception" covers a lot of ground in a short time - and even contains what could be considered as a hint of the supernatural. But the one constant is that this film remains entertaining and amusing in equal measure. For a lower-budget film, "The Last Conception" has no problem keeping pace with plenty of more heavily budgeted movies, and the story itself may seem potentially confusing, because of all the elements involved, but it isn't. A tribute to the writing talent of Gabriel Constans.
At the heart of this film were two things, a view of the modern family dynamic versus a more traditional family environment - and core acceptance. Through all the comedy - that is not in your face comedy by the way, those two aspects remained always present. The glue that held everything together. While I believe more drama could have been achieved by having Savarna's mother take longer to come around, or by using grandma as a dramatic spring-board, I was happy that things were kept balanced and light. This allowed the message of the film to come through more naturally, and not like it was being forced.
The cast themselves all did fantastically, from Charlie's upbeat and often hyper personality, to Savarna's parents who... and I hate to use the word... came across as "cute" more often than not. The traditional, or should I say super religious grandma was the perfect addition and the character of Jackson felt like the perfect way to keep it all real. Savarna, as the lead character was handled near perfectly in my opinion. Somewhere in the middle, the balance of the film. All in all, I have no complaints about anyone and everyone seemed to fit in just as they were meant.
At the end of the day, this was not only a surprising movie for me, but one that was simply damn good. "The Last Conception" is a comfort film if ever there was one - and considering the complex topics involved, that's really saying a lot about the talent both in front of and behind the lens. It's not what I expected, and probably not what you're expecting either. Four stars and two thumbs up.
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