“To Kid or Not to Kid” from director Maxine Trump begins intimately, with the filmmaker shooting a close-up of her own scarred abdomen. The documentary stays in that highly personal vein as Trump grapples with her own decision on whether or not to have children.
Trump’s research takes her around the world, discussing the societal pressures on women to become mothers, while also exploring the individual experiences of other women who have made the choice. She has tough conversations with her husband, mother and sister as she tries to make the decision, and she also stays in dialogue with herself around what she really wants. In addition to Trump’s own life, she largely focuses on Megan, a 25-year-old British woman fighting to have a sterilization procedure.
Remaining child-free is still a relatively taboo issue, and “To Kid or Not to Kid” deserves praise for exploring it so openly. The film wanders a bit in that exploration, lacking a structure that might make it more effective in having the conversation, but there’s value in broaching the topic.
Occasionally, “To Kid or Not to Kid” doesn’t feel as organic as it might, including a scene that inexplicably appears to have been horizontally flipped in post-production. These moments feel out of place in a film that is trying to have an honest discussion, but it will still be appreciated by those who find themselves in a similar position to Trump.
Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood