Review: The meaning of motherhood is at stake in the biting comedy ‘Egg’

Actress and filmmaker Marianna Palka makes unflinching films about women, sex, feminism and restrictive social norms, which her characters often violently break with. Her fifth feature, the erudite “Egg,” written by Risa Mickenberg, sees two couples converge on a Brooklyn loft, and fueled by buttery Chardonnay, have it out over the meaning of motherhood.

Tina (Alysia Reiner) and Karen (Christina Hendricks) are art school buddies who have taken different tracks in life. Karen married bourgeois real-estate developer Don (David Alan Basche), while Tina has a perfectly bohemian life with her husband, Wayne (Gbenga Akinnagbe). But the arrival of a hugely pregnant Karen in their home uproots deeply buried issues in Tina and Wayne’s relationship.

Tina deflects her own emotions about whether or not to reproduce by intellectually disarming them — she analyzes and argues; makes art projects and thought experiments. She’s planning a new show called “Egg,” but there’s more than she’s letting on about why this topic fascinates her.

The film showcases the powerhouse Reiner’s range, as Tina battles archetypes — the patriarchal jerk (Don), the benevolent caretaker (Wayne), the fruitful womb (Karen) and the nubile nymph (Kiki [Anna Camp]), the couple’s friend. Ultimately, it’s about what Tina wants, without compromise. With “Good Dick,” “Bitch” and now “Egg,” Palka has established herself as a fearless voice exploring all kinds of feminine instincts, basic or not.



Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes

Playing: Starts Jan. 18, AMC Universal City Walk; also on VOD

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