Festival Review: Nasty Baby (2015)

Nasty Baby

The comic story of a New York gay couple trying for a baby with their 30-something best friend, Sebastián Silva’s Nasty Baby falls apart in the final reel.

A Matter Of Life And Death

by Mark Wilshin

Nasty Baby

CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Filmed in the director’s Brooklyn apartment and with his own cat, Sebastián Silva’s Nasty Baby is the honest tale of New York gay couple Freddy and Mo (Sebastián Silva and Tunde Adebimpe) trying for a baby with thirty-something Polly (Kristen Wiig). Like his metatextual art project ‘Nasty Baby’, with Freddy’s friends banishing their ego by embarrassing themselves as babies, it’s Silva’s universe recreated on film, and there are some beautifully realistic moments, recreating the dynamics of a gay couple, their bikes, the uncertain sideways looks sometimes thrown their way by family or the homophobia they suffer on Brooklyn’s streets. Kristen Wiig is luminous, and even though not much in particular happens, Nasty Baby is a funny, enjoyable ride. Until, that is, Freddy kills the neighbourhood nutcase The Bishop (Reg E. Cathey) after he attacks him. A plot turn designed to drag these otherwise sympathetic New Yorkers through the mud, it comes too late for Silva to really know what to do with it – there’s no guilt or fall-out in their relationships, just cappuccino and brunch. And just to add to the mess, the director tacks on to the credits what feels like a deleted scene of Freddy and Polly roller-skating, as if he just couldn’t bear to part with it. A strange expression of self-hate, Silva’s Nasty Baby is a fictional life laid bare with all its faults – honest, cruel and just a little bit bipolar.

Nasty Baby is released on 8th April 2016 in the UK

Join the discussion