In this fiery conversation starter, tough ethical quandaries agitate the sophisticated New York lives of three friends, whose best intentions behind a surrogate pregnancy are complicated when nature intrudes.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2020
Selected for SXSW 2020, Jeremy Hersh’s debut feature missed out on a prestigious premiere slot when the hip Austin festival became one of the earliest COVID event casualties. We’re pleased to bring his thoughtful human drama to our At Home — Online edition.
With their roots in the New York theatre scene clear to see, Hersh and his terrific cast bite deep into a rich layer cake of issues, requiring the audience to interrogate their own responses to the choices confronting the characters; choices that would challenge the legendary wisdom of Solomon.
Jess (Jasmine Batchelor) is thrilled to be bearing a child for her best friends, gay couple Josh (Chris Perfetti) and Aaron (Sullivan Jones), until their perfectly modern arrangement flounders on an unexpected prenatal diagnosis of a birth disorder. When nobody is wrong, and no answer is right, how do you do the right thing? The Surrogate is intelligent, heartbreaking and entirely human. — Marten Rabarts
“This clear-eyed ethical drama is propelled by a performance of stunning psychological insight and raw feeling from Jasmine Batchelor. But the film is rendered even more affecting by the careful consideration it gives to the impact of her character's fluctuating decision-making, both on the people directly involved and those on the fringes… Hersh’s briskly economical yet intensely emotional film… [is] without an ounce of preachiness or melodrama… [and] asks tough questions – about prenatal testing, eugenics, reproductive rights, parenting and special-needs children – in a manner sometimes hard to watch but always compelling and grounded in a firm foundation of what feels like authentic experience.” — David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
About the Filmmaker
Jeremy Hersh is a New York filmmaker. His undergraduate thesis film Natives premiered at SXSW in 2013, and was followed by the acclaimed short Actresses (2015). Partly crowdfunded on Kickstarter, The Surrogate is his debut feature film.