“Anchor and Hope”: A heart-wrenching portrait of parenthood & sexuality

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Rating: ★★★

Deciding to have a baby is a big step in many couples’ lives, but sometimes, things don’t always go according to plan. Carlos Marques-Marcet’s Anchor and Hope follows two lesbian women who, one drunken night, decide to use their friend’s sperm in order to have a child of their own. It’s not a decision that should be taken lightly, but makes for an interesting story nonetheless. Insemination is a viable option that is often considered by those in same-sex relationships, or by those who struggle to conceive. This is the first film I’ve seen that deals with the subject so explicitly.

Throughout the course of the film, we focus heavily on the lives of Eva, Kat and Roger. The quality of acting was very good and believable, meaning it was easy for me to stay invested in their lives as events transpired. They all have very different personality traits that inevitably clash, and it’s not long before jealousy starts to rear its ugly head and tensions rise. Kat and Roger are close and both fluent in Spanish, meaning they’re able to communicate and Eva hasn’t got a clue what they’re saying. She starts feeling left out, which may or may not have driven her to think about the insemination. It’s left up to the audience to figure that one out. It’s clear Eva wants the baby more than Kat does, which is already a huge red flag.

The baby becomes a central part of the narrative, and the character’s lives. Anchor and Hope presents us with different viewpoints, all centred around this new life. It’s incredibly emotional to watch as we witness how three very different characters respond to it. I respected the fact the film doesn’t position itself as for or against any argument, it simply presents them to the audience as valid responses to what’s happening. Had the film gotten too preachy one way or the other, I think I may have found that frustrating. This is a film that leaves a lot up to the audience, and one that can spark interesting discussions.

Despite my interest in the topic and praise for the acting, I didn’t particularly like any of the characters. They’re all frustrating in their own ways and sometimes it felt a little too far-fetched and melodramatic. This weakened the film for me as I didn’t find myself rooting for anyone, and just wished they’d never made that decision in the first place. There’s no warmth for any of the characters, which was a let down.  I also felt the story could have been shorter and snappier, as it felt too drawn out in places.

However, it is a very interesting look into insemination and sperm donors, and the script is strong and considered. It would be easy to cause controversy if not dealt with respectfully, but I felt like appropriate research had been done and they remained impartial throughout. The visuals are clean, well shot, and I liked the use of small, intimate locations to tell the story. Eva and Kat live on a houseboat, so that sense of minimalism is present throughout.

I was mostly entertained and enjoyed watching it, so I would recommend this film if it’s a topic that interests you. Overall, it’s an emotionally charged and well-written LGBT+ film and we definitely need more of those.

 

Anchor and Hope is available on DVD & Digital Download now.

 

 

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