A new gay comedy and drama movie in 2020!!
What can be more challenging than being gay in a traditional Indian family? Well, coming out to your parents. This is what Savarna needs to overcome in “The Last Conception”.
To everyone’s surprise Savarna’s parents, Davidia (Marshall Manesh) and Mira (Veena Bidasha) are progressive enough to accept she is a lesbian, but they still have issues with the fact that it’s their daughter in question here.
“I don’t think they’re anti-gay, I just think they’re anti-me being gay.” I am confident that those very words have traveled through the minds of many an individual during the scary thing that is coming out to one’s parents.
Savarna’s (Nazanin Mandi) coming out party turns out to be a relatively minor deal, while the real issue is Savarna is going to have a baby, as the title also suggests.
The consensus seems to be: it doesn’t matter if she gets married or who she sleeps with, just as long as she produces a grandchild. Adding to the pressure is the fact that Savarna is the only fertile one between her and her sister, Chitra. Chitra (Lovlee Carroll), and her husband, Mike (Josh George), have an adopted daughter, Amaya (Molly Ava). But since Amaya is not a blood relation, the onus is on Savarna to carry on the family bloodline.
Even more stress comes with the realization that Savarna isn’t even sure she wants to have kids, and she hasn’t even discussed the prospect with her girlfriend, Charley (Callie Schutteera). Even more, Savarna works in a fertility clinic, so she is surrounded by the elation of pregnancy and the heartbreak of infertility every day.
Adding yet more tension is the unexpected visit of Davidia’s mother from India, who hasn’t left India in fifty years! She rolls into town accompanied by a small posse of spiritual advisors and, while gentle and maternal, seems only to care about Amaya and, of course, Savarna’s unborn child.
To add more to the pressure on Savarna is that her family turns out to be directly descended from the Buddha. So, it is entirely plausible that the reason everyone is so anxious for Savarna to have a child is that there is the very real possibility that her child could be the reincarnation of the Buddha.
“A major reason that The Last Conception works so well is due to the central performance of Nazanin Mandi. Mandi, a wonderfully engaging actor, crucially chooses to adopt an “I can’t believe this is my life” perspective for Savarna. This is the absolutely perfect note to hit in a light culture-comedy such as this. It would have muddled the film’s tone had director Gabriela Ledesma encouraged her to assume a more neurotic or frantic style. Savarna knows she has a lot to deal with, but she will handle it in her own time and with grace.
The Last Conception reminded me in some ways of Ang Lee’s 1993 comedy The Wedding Banquet in terms of its eastern-versus-western ideas surrounding homosexuality. The Last Conception, however, only seems to employ the gay aspect of these characters as a springboard for the real meat of the culture clash: the old world’s insistence upon grandchildren and the duty to one’s heritage versus the more modern notion of individual freedom to choose one’s family. A major strength of The Last Conception is its understanding that Savarna is in control of her destiny but never disrespectful of where she comes from.
The movie was written by Gabriel Constans, based on his novel, and is frequently hilarious, which contributes immeasurably to the sprightliness of the plot. Carroll and George have some very funny moments when it comes to Amaya’s care, and Bidasha, in a tender performance, beautifully nails the meddling-but-compassionate Mira. The Last Conception skillfully arranges a sweet story along with plenty of heart and soul into a beautiful, well-intended, and entertaining package.”
Watch the trailer :