It’s going to be a hotly contested battle between SHIVA BABY and RARE BEASTS for the most uncomfortably awkward comedy released in 2021. Interestingly both are by female first-time feature directors and both show confidence in abundance and a unique world outlook. Danielle’s (Rachel Sennott) side-gig as a young sex worker threatens to be revealed to her extended family when she bumps into the sugar daddy she has been seeing (Danny Deferrari) at a shiva for a distant relative. The panic-inducing claustrophobia director Emma Seligman conveys is impressive as Danielle bounces from prying relative to prying relative, enduring questions about her plans for the future and avoiding answering much about how she is filling her time at present. This is cringe comedy of the highest order, built around a mesmerising central performance from Sennott and strong support from Molly Gordon, Fred Melamed and others. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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