Stars: Ilana Glazer, Justin Theroux, Pierce Brosnan Director: John Lee Producer/Distributor: A24/Hulu
“You are 100% pregnant.”
In False Positive, a couple are in desperate need of having a child. Nothing is working. Who do they go to? Pierce Brosnan.
The 90s Bond heartthrob doesn’t participate in the conception as many would desire, but instead, he is a world-class, magazine-covered, fertility doctor – Dr. Hindle. His reputation is immaculate, and his overall egotistical presence exists hand-in-hand with his success. Dr. Hindle goes by the recommendation of Adrian (Justin Theroux), much to the curiosity of his partner, Lucy (Ilana Glazer). When success is achieved in the form of pregnancy, the couple’s world represents two emotions: joy in the veins of Adrian, and dismay in the blood of Lucy. His happiness, along with her downfall, pits their family doctor – Dr Hindle – in the middle of the equation.
Tone and ambiance feature prominently in False Positive. For what is a common struggle between couples, often a shameful struggle, often seen as a sign of desperation. Immediately, we see Adrian and Lucy as a happy couple, but a painfully forced one. Something isn’t right. The presence of a creepy, almost retro tone from the early 90s, establish an unnerving sense that something just isn’t right with this couple. Is it the couple or is it their situation? Now, this is where Brosnan really comes to prominence.
His character, played somewhat tongue-in-cheek, manages to lighten the tone with his sleazy grandeur. Brosnan, a spectacle in himself, adds further layers to the doctor’s on screen presence. Though as an elite surgeon, a miracle worker, his perfection is almost too good to be true. There has to be a catch.
Throughout False Positive, we follow the story through the navigation of Lucy. If anything, it’s really her story, and as it should be. Though there is an overwhelming creepiness from Hindle’s supposed miracle work, the additions in pain and terror come in the form of her everday life. Adrian’s treatment of her, as well as how her friends have reacted to her concerns, all contribute to an anxiety lived through pregnancy, regardless of Dr Hindle’s input to the storyline.
Ultimate, from the wild world of A24, False Positive establishes a group of varying avenues in which it can proceed with its story. Strongly at first, and slightly present throughout, there is that 90s mystery thriller vibe. But as the story develops, the horror of Lucy turns more psychological, and gradually physical. The latter can be somewhat bizarre, comedic, and uncomfortably gross. To an extent, a selection of the ideas and images presented are simply vile. With that in mind, Ilana Glazer excels with this traumatic and seemingly spiritually painful role, whilst Pierce Brosnan is suspiciously suave, and Justin Theroux does an excellent job as the forceful, dickhead husband.
False Positive can be viewed now on Sky Cinema in the UK.
This article’s featured image: By Source, NOW TV, Fair Use https://www.nowtv.com/ie/online/false-positive-2021/A5EK5E17Hwqz8UriJVRpN