Tribeca 2018 Review: EggBy Dominga Martin
April 23, 2018
Provocative dramedy makes debut at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival taking the audience into a dinner party where guests do everything but walk on eggshells. Director Marianna Palka (Good Dick, Bitch) helmed the story which takes place over the stretch of a day in Brooklyn.
Egg. A film of two conflicting ideas about motherhood, stars Christina Hendricks as Karen and her husband Don, portrayed by David Alan Basche; alongside Alysia Reiner (Tina) and Gbenga Akinnage (Wayne). The two couples stand on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to everything from political views, to status and womanhood causing an unlikely dinner conversation which takes audiences on a head trip, controlled by Tina.
Watching this film felt a lot like #whitegirltears, a hash tag which erupted on black twitter to define how some white women use their tears to overstep boundaries and get away with microaggression. As a black woman watching this film, I could not relate culturally, however the stance on womanhood highlighted a few great debates on patriarchy and a woman’s right to choose. This film felt like it was written through the perspective of a gentrified lens. The insensitivities to Wayne and Tina’s Brooklyn neighborhood were frowned upon by their dinner guests Don and Karen, who are said to be liberals, yet seemed pretentious as it related to this interracial + bi-cultural couple — their job path, their home, their neighborhood and their way of life. The racial undertones in the film made me cringe. I did not understand how a caucasian woman (Tina) married to an African man (Wayne) could not have ever tried his Ethiopian food. There were moments in the film that felt insulting and condescending. As the film plays on it felt more like actors working out scenes at a play rehearsal.
The film opens up with Chapter 1: (Tina), focusing on Tina and Wayne’s relationship, which seems loving at first, yet as the film unravels we get the impression that Wayne is in an unsupportive space, with a self-centered wife, who is detached from the concept of motherhood and his needs, due to her feminist thoughts on patriarchy — and the idea that a woman should have the right to chose what happens with her body. The tensions in the room rise once their guests Don and Karen arrive.
While Karen and Tina met in art school, which seem to have been their only bond — they have grown worlds apart and into the definitive women they choose to be. By chapter 2: (Tina & Karen), the viewer can definitely use some head space, yet we find ourselves cornered in a room in the attic where Tina’s unapologetic approach feels a bit combative, and both women confront hidden secrets.
Meanwhile Don and Wayne retreat to their version of a man-cave moment, which was a welcoming departure from the only setting — the living room. Upon their return, the final chapter begins: (Tina & Karen & Kiki), introducing the audience to Tina and Wayne’s surrogate “Kiki” (Anna Camp) — who immediately becomes the envy of both women, although a bobble head. Yet, the character is a breath of fresh air — breaking up the monotony of the biting sarcasm and digs thrown throughout the film.
Hendricks (Mad Men, Good Girls) was a darling to watch as she unraveled and danced back and fourth between sensitivity and strength. The range of colors in her performance were wonderful to witness. We have seen Akinnagbe in roles over the years as an assassin (The Wire) or Secret Service agent (24, Independence Day Resurrection), so this character was a refreshing departure from the usual dark or mentally challenged roles (Knucklehead, Home) he’s played over the years.
Needless to say, this is a dinner party that no one walks away from, feeling welcomed, yet relieved when this conversation and night is over. While first time screenwriter Lisa Mickenberg wrote this film while sorting out her views on pregnancy, it feels a bit “talky” and would possibly be better suited for stage.