(director: Alex Thompson; screenwriter: Kelly O’Sullivan; cinematographer: Nate Hurtsellers; editor: Alex Thompson; music: Quinn Tsan, Alex Babbitt; cast:  Kelly O’Sullivan (Bridget), Ramona Edith-Williams (Frances), Charin Alvarez (Maya), Braden Crothers (Cortland), Lily Mojekwu (Annie), Jim Frost (Isaac), Rebekah Ward (Cheryl), Mary Beth Fisher (Carol), Max Lipchitz (Jace), Francis Guinan (Dennis); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Pierce Cravens, Ian Keiser, Eddie Linker, Alex Thompson, James Choi, Raphael Nash, Roger Welp; Oscilloscope Laboratories; 2019)

Pleasingly frank and nonjudgmental indie queer parenting comedy.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Alex Thompson, in his debut feature, directs this pleasingly frank and nonjudgmental indie queer parenting comedy that is being shown currently on VOD. It’s written by the film’s “girl next door” type star Kelly O’Sullivan, who is Thompson’s partner.

The single 34-year-old Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan) is aimless and has no career plans. She’s a Chicago diner waitress (prefers the term server), a drop-out from Northwestern University’s creative writing program and someone who is not sure if she ever wants to make a serious love connection. She gets an abortion for her accidental pregnancy, after a brief fling with a much younger waiter (Max Lipchitz),  at the beginning of summer. She then lands a job as a nanny to the six-year-old Frances (Ramona Edith-Williams) in the affluent suburb of Evanston, Illinois. Her employers are a wealthy, liberal, mixed-race lesbian couple.

Annie (Lily Mojekwu) is the breadwinner attorney, while her partner Maya (Charin Alvarez) gives birth to their new infant and cares for the child. The plan is for the nanny to care for the precocious Frances. Meanwhile the sensitized kid notices her parents are not getting along, as Maya resents doing all the household chores while Annie is always working.

It soon dawns on the couple that Bridget has no experience dealing with kids and they fire her. But as the couple continue their spat, they decide they need the nanny after all and she’s rehired.

The gist of the film is in how the nanny and child, who is no saint, bond in such a natural way (good vibes wins out over just job experience).

It’s a film I loved because it seemed so real, was so funny, there was no covering up of the flawed characters and it seemed like the perfect film to throw in the face of the right-wingers who object to everything this movie stands for (the right to have an abortion, casual sex, for gay couples to adopt and kids of mixed races to be socially accepted).

The nanny heroine is most appealing and genuine. At the film’s end she blurts out “I don’t have a husband or kids or a fancy job.” All the things women are told in America is vital for their happiness.

Saint Frances

REVIEWED ON 5/12/2020  GRADE: A-