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Shiva Baby (2021)

The Story

Danielle is a lover with a big future to a handsome, wealthy man, and at the same time a ne’er do well child to her well-meaning parents. After a meetup with Max, her man with benefits, she heads over to a shiva (skipping the funeral) for a family friend. The event is well attended by all the women in her family’s circle who have seen her growing up, and they all have opinions and questions for the young woman. She also encounters a former girlfriend Maya at the shiva. Danielle’s lies unfold as the time passes, and somehow she lives through it. 

Initial Thoughts

Shiva Baby isn’t quite comedy; it should really be filed under Anxiety, Claustraphobia, and Family Shyte Show. Young Danielle might be of this community, but she doesn’t know how to navigate their world as an adult. Her parents still see her as their baby girl, and they analyze her life and talk about her to other guests without filters or boundaries. Her mother keeps reminding her to not do this and that. When the persistent questioning from older women and nitpicks about her weight and looks become too much, she retreats to the bathroom to do what she does best: stir the drama. Her sugar-daddy has just entered the event, with his “shiksa” wife and kid in tow, and she thinks it most appropriate to undress and take a few topless selfies. Danielle herself is awkward and prone to problems. Of course she’s going to lose her phone. Of course someone is going to pick it up and learn her secrets. When the gang eventually leaves the shiva, you’re just glad you aren’t stuffed in that family van, too.

1/27/2024 JW

The Deets

Rating: NR
Concerns: Pervasive Language, Sexual Content
Runtime: 1h 17m
Genre: Comedy, LGBTQ+, Drama
Original Language: English
Release Date (US Theaters): April 2, 2021  Limited
Release Date (streaming): April 2, 2021

Main Cast

Rachel Sennott as Danielle
Molly Gordon as Maya
Danny Deferrari as Max
Polly Draper as Debbie
Fred Melamed as Joel
Dianna Agron as Kim Beckett
Jackie Hoffman as Susan

Production & Crew

Distributor: Utopia, Pacific Northwest Pictures
Production Co: Neon Heart Productions 
Director(s): Emma Seligman
Producer(s):  Kieran Altmann, Katie Schiller, Lizzie Shapiro 
Writer(s): Emma Seligman
Cinematography: Maria Rusche 
Music: Ariel Marx 
Editor: Hanna Park 
Hair/Makeup Lead(s): Lily Li 
Costumes: Michelle J. Li 

Memorable Quotes

Danielle: I should kiss the ground you walk on for not kicking me out of the house.

Mom: You’re not in our house, you’re just on our payroll.

Maya: Were you even at the funeral? … You can’t just like show up to, like, the afterparty for a shiva and then, like, reap the benefits of the buffet.

Woman: Such nice girls.
(at the party, about Danielle and Maya who have left to clean up baby vomit)

Maya: Who the f*** brings a baby to a shiva?

Max: You’re full of surprises today.

Mom: Worst case scenario, you can move back in with Daddy and me.

Danielle: No.

Dad: Off like a herd of turtles.

The Trailer

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