Freeze: A Dark-Comedy about Baby Panic
By Maya Albanese, Starring Nora Zehetner
A Jet-Black Comedy Inching Towards the Absurd
In Maya Albanese’s latest ‘twisted fairytale’ Freeze, the director and writer imbues dark humor and cutting relatability to one woman’s encounter with baby panic.
Joy, who is approaching the age of 35, spirals into a crumbling neurosis in her attempt to silence the deafening tic-toc of her biological clock and escape the external pressures from her family, friends, and doctors. Joy finds herself caught between the world of reproductive procedures and her own dizzying life crashing down around her.
Albanese approaches the topic of aging and fertility with surrealist comedy: a doctor uses colored candies to explain the shelf life of a woman’s ovarian reserves; Joy hallucinates crying babies in an egg carton – there is even a scene that feels vaguely apocalyptic as a crowd of crazed women hysterically vie to freeze their eggs.
At its core, Freeze is a witty satire criticizing the absurd pressures women face – both internally and externally- to have a child before they reach the peak of their fertility.
The result is a cameo-filled mind-bender, featuring Nora Zehetner (Brick, Madmen), Adrian Grenier (Entourage, Devil Wears Prada), Chris Parnell (Rick & Morty, 30 Rock), amongst other stars.
Nora Zehetner who plays the main female lead as Joy, brings a nuanced and brilliantly subtle take on the role, diving into the frenzy of having a baby in a slow and steady decline.
The viewer takes on her point of view, in her confusion about getting pregnant, doubts about assisted reproduction, and mistrust in her doctors. Everyone from her parents to her boyfriend to her boss seem to be pulling her in various opposing directions, stretching her to the brink of madness. Along for the journey, the viewer is left with a puzzling discomfort and a strange feeling of disorder and disorientation.
There are excellent stylistic choices made here: from the color gradients (piggy pinks turn into muddied pinks), to the unbalanced cinematography, stringy score, and montage shots of inside a woman’s uterus. Each bit of visual effects work seamlessly to heighten the crippling anxiety boiling in Joy’s psyche.
These elements are complemented by a bizarre plot that is just as uncomfortable as it is hilarious. It is a purposeful and bold display of reckless abandon inching towards the absurd. While the subject of fertility and aging is often a private affair in America, Freeze handles the material with jet-black comedy, and is definitely unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
Watch Freeze now on Argo HERE