Stephanie Daley (2006)

Tilda Swinton and Amber Tamblyn star in Stephanie Daley, an introspective look at the disastrous result of a teenage pregnancy. In short, while the theme of a teenage pregnancy ending in the child murdering the baby has been done umpteen times before, this movie offers nothing new, nor breaks any new ground. Read on if you need to hear more, although at this point, I wouldn't blame to if you wanted to skip on to the next review...

Tamblyn plays Stephanie Daley, the Church going model of a sixteen year old. She heads on over to a party, and a chance encounter with a departing soldier (it was somewhat coerced), results in a nine month problem. Faster than you can say "family planning," Stephanie heads into the bathroom stall, has the child, and we have a dead infant. Just like in plenty of other films, it becomes a question of stillborn infant, or murdered newborn.

Sorting out this mess is forensic psychologist Lydie Crane (Swinton). She is going through her own crisis as well as she is pregnant. This is the first of several parallels between the two of them, as well as their love of cats.

This film is an unmitigated disaster. It starts out that the pace is glacially slow, and not the chunks of ice that are melting in Greenland of late. Contributing to the confusion is that the story is told simultaneously as the base story of Stephanie conceiving and her subsequent pregnancy, and then the subsequent sorting out is superimposed on top of it. This type of storytelling works well in a film like Momento (where it creatively simulates the short term memory issue the protagonist is experiencing), but in very few other films. I think the film could have held my attention better with more of a straight through plot as this one had me hitting the INFO button on the DVD remote every few minutes to figure out when it would end.

While the performances of the two women were decent, neither is a standout. Combine that with a confusing screenplay, and you can confidently take Stephanie Daley off of the NetFlix queue. This movie feels like an overgrown ABC After School Special, and that's where this film should have stayed.

Overall Grade: D

Reviewed by Jonas

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