A scene from The Last Conception
Graced by humor, Gabriela Ledesma’s The Last Conception seeks to spread the radiance of humane values amidst its laughable moments. It is the story of the Sikand family, whose quirkiness, mixed with their sweetness, takes you on an eighty-five minute exhilarating ride.
Meet the Sikands and know their story
Savarna (Nazanin Mandi), an Indian-American young woman, is an embryologist at an IVF lab. Her parents Davidia (Marshall Manesh) and Mira (Veena Bidasha) have heaped on her the responsibility of getting married and having a baby to carry on the bloodline.
The parents present their valid arguments to convince Savarna. Her sister Chitra (Lovlee Carroll) is barren, and she and her husband Mike (Josh George) have adopted a child who is not part of the lineage. Her cousins from India, who were in the race to grow the family tree, have died in an accident. So they have no other option but to pin all their hopes on her to carry out this task. A bombshell drops over them when Savarna announces that she is gay and is in a serious relationship with her white American partner Charley (Callie Schutera).
After some initial disappointment and drama, the parents accept her sexuality. But Savarna’s mom is still insistent that she has to have the baby some way or the other. The tension brews stronger with the arrival of the grandmother, who comes from India with a spiritual assistant to ensure that Savarna gets pregnant and the bloodline continues.
A big surprise greets the Sikand sisters when they learn that they are Buddhists and not Hindus as they have all along thought to be. The parents reveal that they are the direct descendants of Gautam Buddha, and the child born to Savarna is the only hope to maintain the sacred family name. It is speculated that the new baby could even be Buddha reincarnated!
Savarna, with the approval of her family, gets married to Charley. But will she give her parents the grandchild that they have been waiting for? Join the lovable Sikands till the finish line to know about it all.
A scene from The Last Conception
A humorous plot and brilliant performances make the film enjoyable.
There is never a dull moment in The Last Conception. The humor is not forced and flows spontaneously through the dialogues and actions. The actors need to be credited for doing justice to their parts as they ably contribute in keeping the laughter ball rolling. They perform with natural ease, and that’s what keeps the comic elements alive.
How hilarious can it be when Chitra stumbles between the words lineage and linen! Then there is Savarna’s boss Jackson (Matt Richards) at the IVF lab who while putting the samples in the freezer calls them babies.
The family moments are captured naturally, and the scenes fit into the right places.
It is very funny when Savarna’s mother asks her to pick a suitor from a bachelor binder she has maintained. That makes her so relatable to those moms who do weird things to get their daughters married.
Husbands and wives can act extremely silly when they argue over trivial things, and Savarna’s parents are no exception. In one such scene, Davidia snubs his wife and asks her if she would pick a fight over his breathing when she simply enquiries if he was breathing hard.
Charley acts surprised and asks Savarna if she has more than one father when he knocks at their door and announces “It’s your Dad Davidia.”
Close on the heels of one another, there is a refreshing shower of humorous moments that keep one thoroughly entertained.
It’s all there in a solid script!
Thanks to screenwriter Gabriel Constans, there is so much that is tenderly handled in the story. The idea of the divine child is a rather unique paradigm that offers freshness to the script. Constans maneuvers the story very artistically with a twist at the end that one would anticipate the least.
Besides the humor that flows perennially throughout the film, we experience the family camaraderie that is so heartwarming. Also, the concept of multiculturalism blends beautifully into the story. After Savarna surprises the family by telling them about Charley, her sister casually remarks: “Takes the heat off me for marrying a white guy!” But we see no traces of ill will towards any culture or community. Instead, a thought rings loud that humanity flourishes by embracing diversity.
The film addresses the LGBTQ perspective through the story of Savarna and Charley and without any spoken words sends a message that love, respect, and acceptance can create wonders and pave the road to happiness.
It’s all about laughter, kindness, warmth, and affection in The Last Conception, and it’s this sweet package that leaves you with a feel-good experience at the end.
( This review was published in India Currents . The Last Conception is streaming on Amazon Prime )