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The Baby Diary

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Mike and Jenny are feverishly preparing, evangelical Baptist-style, for their baby to be born. Best friend Sandra is “mostly trying to get pregnant right now” and wistfully stroking baby clothes on shopping trips. Simon is divorced, lonely and a firefighter, living in a spare room destined for nursery-hood.

The first Baptist baby documentary (they think) charts the “super-Christians” and sprog-to-be as they hurtle towards a live online birth feed. From their quirky felt-tip pen drawn set, the quartet unwittingly torture each other – barren Sandra desperate at Jen’s increasingly enormous belly, Mike miserable at the baby sacrifices thrust upon him, Simon clinging to his “family” and a roof over his head, and the expectant couple longing for their maisonette back.

Writer Emily Watson Howe's characters are empathetic, superbly acted and crisply crafted – even cameos are engaging and hilarious. The whole cast raise regular out-loud laughs, and, though riddled with poignant moments, there’s a happy absence of melodrama. Even the birth scene, so often cringemakingly overblown, hits clever comic notes. The sweet ending leaves a lingering everything’s-ok feeling, and an obviously satisfied audience.

- Hannah Ewan


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