Movie Review: The Surrogate
by Julie Perez
When Jess Harris (Jasmine Batchelor) decides to be the surrogate for her best friend Josh (Chris Perfetti) and his husband Aaron (Sullivan Jones), it’s a selfless act that is meant to enrich all of their lives. Amidst the happiness and the celebration though, a prenatal test shows that the baby will be born with Down syndrome and the three are forced to make a decision on the best course of action.
The Surrogate explores the conversation of raising a child with Down syndrome from all angles; it allows the misconceptions to be seen, while providing a lighthearted reality all at the same time. The film finds a way to include all aspects on the topic; from class disparities, to discrimination in the LGBTQ community and the moral implications of going through with an abortion. Yet, it all feels a bit top layer and struggles to connect the entire time.
The Surrogate poses all of the right questions and tackles topics that are difficult to confront yet, it still left me needing more of an explanation. You’re well into the film before we discover the conflict and even then, they’ve not allowed us enough background on Jess to make us believe her impassioned hopefulness on the matter. Since her point of view led the narrative, it felt necessary to understand her unshakable optimism but those explanation is ever given. The film also doesn’t provide any real insight into Josh and Aaron’s relationship to truly understand where they’re coming from. Other than in two climactic conversations between Jess, Josh and Aaron, a lot feels left unsaid, which makes you question the history between the characters.
With all of that being said, The Surrogate still feels extremely important. It is an ambitious vision from Director, Jeremy Hersh and it is deserving of a celebration. What this film does perfectly is it forces you to question your own morality. It forces you to consider every possibility and allows you to reconcile with what would be your own decision. The Surrogate is a step in the right direction when trying to erase the stigma surrounding raising a child with Down syndrome. This film and Jeremy Hersh breathe life into a community that can often be discriminated against and because of that, The Surrogate is a necessary viewing experience.