Childless 2008 ****

Another entry in the growing file of vanished films; writer/director Charlie Levi’s film Childless gained some traction on the film festival circuit and won a few friends in 2018. In 2015, it snuck out on limited release, yet somehow there’s no actual reviews on the imdb page from professional critics or members of the public. Barbara Hershey leads an impressive cast including Mamet regular Joe Mantegna, Diane Verona and James Naughton; the subject is dark, sure, not for everyone, but the acting is top notch in this depiction of parents struggling to deal with the loss of daughter Katherine (Natalie Dreyfuss). Hershey in particular is blistering; when given the chance (The Entity, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Last Temptation of Christ), she rules the screen, and the straight-to-camera styling here allows her and all the actors the chance to shine. Levi dares to find dark humour in this situation; coming from one of the producers of In The Bedroom, this is a fresh and original take on superficially similar material. Childless now pops up on Amazon Prime in the US, essentially free to view for anyone with a subscription. It’s a minor gem of a film that had little or no fanfare, but is deserving of both an audience and a critical reassessment. Attempting to plug films like this into an audience is one of the purposes of this blog; how else are viewers going to know these films exist?


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