Unpregnant: A Blend Of Comedy And Emotions

Barbie Ferreira and Haley Lu Richardson in Unpregnant. Photograph by Ursula Coyote.

Unpregnant may be one of the most unique films to feature abortion as a story line in that this film is mostly a road trip comedy.

If you haven’t figured it out after the likes of The Edge of Seventeen or Columbus, Haley Lu Richardson is a star.  A bonafide star.  For those readers that have yet to watch Columbus, I have some words for you.  Unpregnant is even more proof that Richardson can carry a film.  The actress carries this film beautifully with the right blend of comedy and emotions that come with the subject.

Missouri teenager Veronica (Haley Lu Richardson) is headed towards an Ivy League education.  But when we first meet her sitting on a toilet, she’s taking one of the biggest tests of her life.  A pregnancy test, that is.  Things go from bad to worse when her former best friend, Bailey (Barnie Ferreira), enters the bathroom to this discovery.  And thus forms a comedy of errors for the next 100 minutes or so.

Parental consent plays a big role in this film.  Much like the case in Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Veronica has to cross state lines with a friend in order to get an abortion.  Missouri requires parental consent and Veronica doesn’t want to tell her mother (Mary McCormack).  Veronica has the moment to tell her her best friends but instead, she opts against doing so.  It’s interesting how the only person she chooses is her former best friend.  The two haven’t been close in some time but this trip brings them closer together.  This film also shows that you can do a road trip comedy without remaking Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

A few things to note.  This is the first feature film I can recall in which there are credits listed for Covid protocols.  There is also a song performed by the late Nick Cordero.  It’s a nice tribute especially with Nick’s passing earlier this year.

Abortion can be a sensitive subject but it shouldn’t have to be.  Sure, it’s one of those subjects that sets off all sorts of political arguments but this is beside the point.  This is not a film that’s trying to make a political argument one way or the other.  Unpregnant, at its core, is a comedy about two friends renewing their friendship and becoming better people in the process.

DIRECTOR:  Rachel Lee Goldenberg
SCREENWRITERS:  Jenni Hendriks & Ted Caplan and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and Rachel Lee Goldenberg & Bill Parker
CAST:  Haley Lu Richardson, Barbie Ferreira, Alexander MacNicoll, Betty Who, Breckin Meyer, Sugar Lyn Beard, Jeryl Prescott Gallien, Ramona Young, Denny Love, Kara Royster, with Mary McCormack and Giancarlo Esposito

Unpregnant is now streaming on HBO Max. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.