Swimming . . .Upstream: A Year In The Life of Karen & Jenny

Impressing initially as a pleasant but rather humdrum video-diary chronicle of a lesbian couple's first (artificially inseminated) pregnancy, Jennifer Freedman's "Swimming Upstream" does develop some interesting narrative wrinkles. Nonetheless, well-turned verite docu is limited in aud potential.

Impressing initially as a pleasant but rather humdrum video-diary chronicle of a lesbian couple’s first (artificially inseminated) pregnancy, Jennifer Freedman’s “Swimming Upstream” does develop some interesting narrative wrinkles. Nonetheless, well-turned verite docu is limited in aud potential, with likeliest outlets being the gay-fest circuit, specialized broadcast sales, and direct tape sales to gay couples (of either gender) mulling a similar path or adoption.

Jennifer Fulle and Karen Yates are an L.A. couple of, as yet, fairly short duration who live in prosperous circumstances. Jenny (who as a “tomboy” in the ’70s had been the poster-child who legally broke the Little League’s barrier against girl players) is very butch, and has seemingly always understood her sexuality. Blonde “femme” Karen only “came out” four years ago, to the continuing distress of her Southern Baptist family. Their debates over potential baby names, circumcision, etc., are routine. But midway it becomes clear both partners are high-maintenance emotionally, each feeling underappreciated by the other. Relationship-seesaws grow less important once the infant (Wyatt) arrives, with serious birth defects that, thankfully, surgery soon corrects. Banal musical choices are main debit in otherwise decently handled docu.

Swimming . . .Upstream: A Year In The Life of Karen & Jenny

Production: A Pie Town production. Produced by Jennifer Freedman. Executive producers, Tara Sandler, Jennifer Davidson, Scott Templeton. Directed by Jennifer Freedman.

Crew: Camera (color, video), Freedman, Michael Rishofski, Geoffrey Heintz, Mark Daniels; editor, David Dawes; music, Amy Mikel. Reviewed at San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, June 29, 2002. Running time: 81 MIN.

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