"Natural Selection" Goes From Sperm Clinic to, of Course, Tampa | New in Film | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Film & TV

"Natural Selection" Goes From Sperm Clinic to, of Course, Tampa

An emancipation story that takes place mostly on the road and on the run, Natural Selection tells the story of how a God-fearing 40-something woman found the greatest love of all. Linda (Rachael Harris) has been living a life of quiet deprivation with pious Abe (John Diehl), who holds fast to a refusal to have sex with his barren wife. Turns out Abe has been wearing himself out at a sperm-donor clinic all those years; when he has a stroke mid-donation, Linda discovers the truth and sets out to recover one of his offspring. She locates Raymond (Matt O'Leary) in Tampa, where he's living the extremely low life, and tries to convince him to come and meet his real father. Like Linda, writer/director Robbie Pickering's feature debut starts out feeling a little mousy and undistinguished. The first creaks of the plot don't bode well for the coming incongruous matchup shtick of would-be mother and son. But Pickering finds a more natural stride once Harris' slightly nutty loneliness and O'Leary's wonderfully convincing skid start digging into each other, first with aggression and then a different kind of heat.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michelle Orange is a regular film contributor at Voice Media Group and its film partner, the Village Voice. VMG publications include LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.