Premature birth is hardly a unique situation. The complications following it form the basis of this tastefully-told but slow-moving story, based on an autobiographical book written by one of the principals.
Elizabeth Mehren (Pamela Reed) and Fox Butterfield (Michael Moriarty) are reporters — she for the Los Angeles Times, he for the New York Times. Those wondering how they maintain such a marriage, or how he came to be named “Fox,” will have to wait for the prequel.
Twenty-five weeks into her pregnancy, Elizabeth breaks water during a cross-country airflight; when the baby is born (in a hospital), she weighs in at 1 pound, 11 ounces.
That’s no big deal, doctors assure Elizabeth; drama begins when stress causes the couple to start fighting, and when the seemingly healthy baby’s health begins to worsen.
The couple’s friends try hard to comprehend what’s going on and sympathize, but their reaction often comes across as insensitive. On the other hand, Elizabeth becomes a real pain as she constantly — and understandably — interrupts hard-working medics to ask them what’s going on and berates her husband for what she perceives as him not caring enough.
Moriarty’s and Reed’s controlled, intelligent perfs set the movie apart, as does its uncompromising conclusion.
On the other hand, many viewers will probably find it difficult to be drawn into the action. These are not particularly appealing characters dominating the story, and the troubles that other parents might relate to don’t really begin to mount until well into the film.
Director Noel Nosseck and lenser Frank Beascoechea get a good look from Vancouver locations, standing in uneasily for New York City.
Remaining tech credits are also good.