12 Weeks

12 Weeks ★★★★★

Casually, her mother mentions that she had thought of getting her aborted back when she was pregnant with her. It is hard to imagine what the proper response is to this, what a daughter is supposed to say. Is Alice supposed to be grateful? Relieved? Her mother apparently says this all the time, this little detail burned into the brain of the main character, who is now herself pregnant under less-than-ideal circumstances.

But then it's worth asking, what would be the ideal circumstance be? If she was younger? If she had a more stable partner? If she wasn't working in an NGO that might send her into a dangerous situation? Regardless, her life would change radically, her choices dictated by what is best for the life growing in her womb. Otherwise, she would be a bad mother.

The first trimester is crucial, they say, and people keep telling her what's best for her and the future child. And she'll object, but she'll also just have to bear it, along with all the other things that women already have to bear. Alice might mention to a male co-worker, for example, that it would be better if he was the one who talked to a contact, since it seemed like said contact didn't like dealing with women. It's just another thing to deal with in a world that has never been fair.

The movie delivers perfect moment after perfect moment, each scene bringing focus to the casual violence that women go through every day, the awfulness that comes with being the sex that bears children. Max Eigenmann is amazing in the lead role, offering up layers of performance that really bring out the complexity of the writing. She is surrounded by violence, born into cycles that she has no choice but to participate in. And she adapts, because she is strong. She has her weaknesses, but she's still strong. She has no choice but to be strong. This is the way of the world.