Unexpected Opening In Theatres and On Demand July 24, 2015
Life throws a curve ball to a beloved Chicago high school teacher who discovers she is pregnant at the same time as one of her talented students. In the film, Unexpected, Samantha “Sam” Abbott (Cobie Smulders, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier) plays a dedicated science teacher, who forms an improbable sisterhood with her most promising student, Jasmine Davis (newcomer Gail Bean). Since learning of their unforeseen pregnancies, the two are on an obstacle course of challenges. Written by Megan Mercier, (Unexpected) and Kris Swanberg (Marriage Material, It Was Great, Empire Builder), as well as, directed by Kris Swanberg (Baby Mary, Empire Builder), this film is a fantastic depiction of life’s unexpected journeys. From morning sickness to bedtime arguments to pregnancy yoga to requests for an epidural, this film is a brilliant adventure of the Unexpected.
Jasmine can’t depend on her boyfriend, Travis (Aaron Nelson, Disney’s The Lion King, The United States), to provide a strong support system. He’s not ready to move out of his mom’s house or have kids. With a 3.8 GPA, Jasmine is determined to not only graduate, but attend college with her newborn. She knows that a college education is her only way out of the ghetto. Sam admires Jasmine’s tenacity to pursue college. Knowing her struggle inspires Sam to help Jasmine complete the college applications. An unlikely sisterhood spawns out of their desire to get Jasmine accepted into Sam’s alma mater.
From the beginning, John (Anders Holm, Workaholics, Neighbors), Sam’s live-in boyfriend shows his commitment by offering marriage. He plants a ring on top of pancakes and they head to the courthouse. John was planning to propose and this pregnancy merely sped up their courthouse ceremony. Although Samantha’s seemingly judgmental mother, Carolyn (Oscar winner Elizabeth McGovern, Once Upon a Time in America, Downton Abbey) misses out on the nuptials, she has plenty to say. Carolyn frequently solicits far more advice about marriage and children than requested. The estranged mother-daughter relationship also drives Sam to bond closer to Jasmine, sharing pregnancy issues.
Like a spool of yarn on a wheel, the story unravels in colorful layers. Unexpected is a work about numerous comparative situations that organically arise through their contrasting backgrounds. Clearly, with Sam being a 30-year-old science teacher and Jasmine an impoverished, 18-year-old high school senior, such differences remain the pivotal factors in their differences. In one particular scene, Sam became utterly nauseous and pulled the car over after Jasmine mixes pickle juice with a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheeto crumbs. This food concoction is created from this generation and economic stature.
Another difference is the fact that Jasmine often babysits her niece and nephew because her 22-year-old sister was a teen mom. Again due to economic struggle, Jasmine learned to be a caregiver at a young age. On the contrary, Sam doesn’t have siblings nor experience caring for a child. While talking to her confidant/friend about parenting, Principal Clements (DuShon Monique Brown, One Small Hitch, Chicago Fire), Sam says half-jokingly, “I hope I don’t mess her up.” Again, this is the reality that many first-time parents often contemplate during those weeks and months of pre- and post-pregnancy.
At the top of Sam’s post-pregnancy list is her career choice of working versus staying at home. Sam’s husband, John wants her to stay home after the baby is born. Initially, Sam desires the break because her high school is closing due to budgetary cuts. However, she also wants to pursue her “dream” gig of being an education coordinator at the museum. Returning to work is one quandary countless moms face. Sam says the classic line, “I’m afraid if I stop working, I’ll lose myself.”
Unexpected is an honest portrayal of the many difficulties parents, especially women face, while navigating through unforeseen pregnancy. This is a hilarious and warmhearted film. Due to strong language, it’s an adult film. I recommend it for ages 16 and up.