“Unexpected” should be a must-see movie for teachers!
The best crowd pleasers are born out of the film festival circuit and sneak up on people with rather bland premises, yet over-deliver excelling with everything that happens onscreen. Coming out of nowhere and winning over audiences earlier this year at Sundance and SXSW (I saw it at the latter), Kris Swanberg’s poignant, life-affirming pregnancy dramady “Unexpected” lifted my spirits while being near perfect in its delightful tenderness.
The synopsis maybe sounds like something like a cross between “Father of the Bride 2” and “Half Nelson.” However, let me assure you that “Unexpected” is much more than the random combination of those two movies. At an inner city Chicago city school, both a yuppie science teacher (Cobie Smulders from TV’s “How I Met Your Mother”) and a driven, straight-A African American student (Gail Bean in an impressive breakthrough role) find out they are both pregnant and form an even stronger bond navigating a challenging new beginning.
In what could’ve been a lame and sterile predictable dramady, “Unexpected” chooses to embrace realism while avoiding expected clichés like a disciplined soldier dodging land mines. It finds a delicate balance between grounded and optimistic without being overtly sensational or cheesy. I highly recommend all teachers (especially urban dwelling ones) who strive to build up their pupils check out this movie.
I wanted to call attention something like “Unexpected” because it is hard to find a movie that is safe, but not naive about the hardships of a complicated life choices and the relationships teachers form with their students. Many people haven’t heard of it and I wish it was getting a wider release. We need movies like this especially for them to do well. It may not be the best movie you see this year, but it is a feel good that confidently re-affirms different values that most audiences will appreciate.