Private Life

Director: Tamara Jenkins
Screenwriters: Tamara Jenkins

Institute History

  • 2018 Sundance Film Festival


Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard (Paul Giamatti) have been repeatedly trying to get pregnant, undergoing multiple fertility treatments while also exploring adoption and other options. As they hit obstacles and face up to the reality of their chances, their strained marriage seems to be further than ever from completing the elusive path to parenthood. An unexpected Hail Mary arrives in the form of their step-niece Sadie (Kayli Carter), a recent college dropout who crashes on their couch and might just prove to be the last, unconventional piece of their fertility puzzle.

Writer/director—and Sundance Film Festival alum—Tamara Jenkins (The Savages) returns to full form after a 10-year break from directing, crafting a sharp and incisive comedy whose resounding honesty is painfully funny. Jenkins directs her impressive cast to raw levels of vulnerability, finding a perfect storm in Giamatti and Hahn, who seamlessly encapsulate a brazen couple in crisis. Memorable supporting turns from Molly Shannon and John Carroll Lynch round out this unruly and sincere look at the pressures surrounding family planning, in all their preposterous forms.

— A.S.

Screening Details

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