[Film review] Baby Done

Review by Michele E. Hawkins.

Zoe (Rose Matafeo) and Tim (Matthew Lewis) enjoy their lives as arborists, and Zoe so loves tree-climbing that she’s about to compete in the New Zealand tree-climbing championships.  Not long before the competition, Zoe discovers she’s pregnant, a fact that, remaining determined to compete, she keeps from Tim. 

After successfully completing the competition, Zoe remains unwilling to adopt the kind of baby-centric life that she and Tim have watched their pregnant friends embrace, and so continues to keep her pregnancy secret.  Knowing that time is limited before the pregnancy will be obvious, she encourages Tim to contribute to a wish list of adventures to undertake, and immediately sets about bringing them to fruition before it’s too late.

Inevitably things come unstuck when Tim inadvertently discovers Zoe’s pregnancy.  Exhilarated at the prospect of being a father, Tim finds himself at odds with Zoe, who is determined to ignore the inevitable and fulfill their agreed-upon wish list.

Rose Matafeo is joyous, portraying with complete believability the ebullient Zoe, who is as much fun as she is serious.  Matthew Lewis brings a convincing performance to his role as Tim, a man utterly dedicated to his partner and their child but who nevertheless can be pushed to the limit.

Typically Kiwi, with the deft hand of Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) evident in places, Baby Done offers a refreshing take on how a woman can feel about her unexpected pregnancy and impending motherhood and others’ consequent expectations of her. With terrific cameos along the way by New Zealand actors Rachel House, as the formidable school principal; Nic Sampson, as a man with an interesting fetish; and Madeleine Sami, as the birthing nurse, Baby Done is a delight from start to finish.

Screening at Palace cinemas.

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