Unexpected | Chicago Reader

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Rated R · 86 minutes · 2015

This indie drama marks a big step forward for writer-director Kris Swanberg; compared with her previous feature, Empire Builder (2012), it's better acted, more smoothly told, and more astute in its social observations. A white, 30-year-old teacher (Cobie Smulders), whose west-side high school is scheduled to close, discovers that she's pregnant, and while preparing herself for parenthood, she takes a maternal interest in a promising student (Gail Bean) who is poor, black, and pregnant herself. This is modest and gentle but seldom sentimental; Swanberg and conscreenwriter Megan Mercier depict the challenges these characters face but take care not to let those challenges define them. By the end of the movie, one sees that the two characters have a fair amount in common. With Anders Holm and Elizabeth McGovern.

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