Rose Byrne On Playing The Pregnant Woman Movies Are Scared To Show

Photo: Courtesy of RADiUS-TWC.
Adult Beginners, a new film starring Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne, and Bobby Cannavale, arrives in theaters and on demand today. It's a thoroughly modern story to which many of us can relate. Kroll's character, Jake, is a tech hotshot whose career — and life — comes careening to a halt right before he launches his big invention. He runs away to stay with his somewhat estranged sister Justine (Byrne) and her husband Danny (Cannavale), who agree to let Jake crash if he can act as a nanny to their young son. The concept of family always being there for you is one we've seen before, but Adult Beginners introduces some refreshingly new characters and archetypes that we haven't, namely when it comes to Justine.

Justine is the loving mother of a 3-year-old who also works as a high school guidance counselor. When Jake shows up on her doorstep, she also reveals that she's pregnant again. The film unfolds over the course of her pregnancy, but the fact that she's gestating a new life doesn't define Justine as a person. If anything, she uses the fact that she's pregnant to take the breathers that everyone needs to stay sane. For example, when her micromanaging boss tries to spring a meeting on her, Justine says that she has to go to a prenatal checkup, then sits in her car watching The Vow and eating Whoppers. 

Was it a lie? Yes. Was it totally excusable, even if it involved seeing a grown woman shirk confrontation and responsibility? Again, yes. Sometimes, you just have to take a time out and recharge. We've all done it. Channing Tatum movies are optional (but highly recommended).

Given how our society tends to fetishize pregnant women and treat them with kid gloves as a precious commodity, however, some viewers might have trouble watching a character like Justine. In other scenes, she has a few sips of alcohol. When she goes to ultrasound appointments, its her husband who wants to be surprised by the baby's sex. Her Ob/Gyn even tells her that she's having an entirely boring, unremarkable pregnancy, which is music to hear ears. Justine just wants to carry on with her life, albeit with a fetus growing inside of her. 
Photo: Courtesy of RADiUS-TWC.
"I loved dispelling this myth that pregnant women are saints and don't have feelings and don't get frustrated or bored or lonely or scared," Rose Byrne said during a recent interview. "It's a far more realistic representation of what's going through someone's mind when they're about to give birth to another human being. That was really refreshing and challenging. I don't think people are comfortable with watching that."

Director Ross Katz added, "I have a friend who's pregnant, and she's confided in me, 'I don’t think I'm allowed to say that I'm a little unsure about all this. I don't know if I'm ready to be a mother, I don't know if I'm ready for the responsibility. I kind of like my life.' But, people think you're a bad person if you say those things."

It's really refreshing to see a character whose pregnancy isn't the only thing she has going on, nor is it it her sole purpose for being in the movie. Justine is a person who just so happens to be pregnant, and the rest of her life marches on regardless of that fact. Will things change when the baby arrives? Of course, but she's got some time — and her relationship with her brother to sort out — before then. 

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