Film Review: unpregnant (2020)

Come for the Fundamental Rights…Stay for the Fundamental Friendship

By Liv Ream, Film Critic

“Unpregnant” reminds me of a movie that would send one of my older relatives into a 30-minute rant about how young people want to push a heathenistic, baby killing agenda…Then they’d never watch it.  

Seventeen-year-old goal setter Veronica (Hayley Lu Richardson) discovers she’s pregnant. Since she is unable to get an abortion without parental consent, Veronica is unwilling to tell her pro-life parents. She opts to convince her estranged childhood best friend Bailey (Barbie Ferreria) to drive her to New Mexico to get a legal abortion.  

This movie is an excellent hybrid of the buddy road trip. I love that both main characters are likable and that their personalities really work together on screen. The title might make you anticipate an hour and a half of emotional teenage turmoil (ETT), but (refreshingly) not the case.  

The movie spends most of its runtime focusing on the friendship and eventual fallout between Veronica and Bailey. Quirky, road-trip-esq high jinks are sprinkled in between bathroom stops as  the circumstances of the trip loom anxiously in the background. “Unpregnant” covered an infamously nuanced topic with an honest and sarcastic lens; at times  verging on seriousness to reiterate how alarming Veronica’s situation is.  

A stereotype I commonly see with a female duo is the “popular achiever vs. comedy-relief burnout” trope. This usually entails a high-status, conventionally attractive, shallow girl being unexpectedly and/or forcibly paired to the rebellious, witty, outcast. After watching the trailer and expecting “Unpregnant” to follow the same formula. I was proven wrong.  

Veronica was obviously popular, but she was not painted as the “Queen B” of her school or an intimidating bully who ruled with fear. She’s got the valedictorian spot, an acceptance letter to Brown and a plan for everything. Veronica’s popularity is based on her genuine kindness and neurotic need to people-please. Could she have been a better friend to Bailey? Yes. However, friends commonly grow apart between elementary and high school.  

Bailey is more than just the foil of Veronica. While she is abrasive and a social loner except for her online gaming friends, Bailey possesses the bravery to be herself while struggling with the inescapable feelings of abandonment by her mom, dad and Veronica. Though she is portrayed as slightly erratic and unhinged, Bailey serves as the ever-present voice of reason throughout the film while remaining sarcastically optimistic. She calls out Veronica’s boyfriend Kevin (Alex MacNicoll) for his unnerving habit of tracking Veronica’s phone and lying to Veronica about a condom breaking. 

Bailey’s nature is infectious, rubbing off on Veronica enough to call out Kevin herself before dumping him. Above all, Bailey is forgiving to a fault. She agrees to drive her ex-childhood bestie from Wisconsin to New Mexico, with no apology or acknowledgment of the rift left behind by Veronica, even after she steals a Pontiac Firebird to make the trip.  

The main message I took from this film? Being a pregnant person is scary. You can make your own support system if you do not have one for a decision like this.  

If you enjoy feel-good buddy comedies, I highly recommend “Unpregnant.”