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Natural Selection

by Kevin Taft
Contributor
Tuesday Nov 20, 2012
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"Natural Selection" is a curious little indie film about a housewife in a sexless marriage who finds out her husband regularly visits a sperm donor clinic and has an illegitimate child living in Florida. When her husband suffers a stroke and may actually be dying, Linda (Rachael Harris) swallows her pride and goes about finding the child. The child is actually a twenty-something convict named Raymond (Matt O’Leary) who has recently busted out of prison and is all sorts of messed up. Knowing Linda is his way to escape the authorities - at least temporarily - he joins her on a road trip back to meet his biological father. In doing so, both learn more about each other and themselves, and Linda grows more than she ever expected.

A mildly diverting dramedy, "Natural Selection" is notable for its terrific performances. Matt O’Leary is a young actor with a long resume who excels as the f-ed up Raymond and who manages to exude an easy sexiness even when his body is generally covered in scabs, bruises, and gashes. But this is the film where we finally see a different side of Rachael Harris. Known mostly for sarcastic and snarky comedic roles ("The Hangover" among others), here she goes au natural and digs deep into a damaged woman trying to rise out of her own insecurities. It’s a brave and unexpected performance that reminded me of something Julianne Moore would try to tackle. And as good as Moore is, I think Harris was the perfect choice.

Special features are slim with brief interviews with Harris, O’Learly, and some of the cast and crew. While certainly interesting, the nine minutes of special features don’t make it worth the price. It’s definitely something to rent, but nothing to add to your collection.

"Natural Selection"
Blu-ray
$29.95
www.cinemaguild.com

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to ’Star Wars’ and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg. He can be seen in the flesh on the weekly PBS movie review series "Just Seen It."

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