In Hulu’s ‘false positive’, Ilana Glazer looks at the dark side of the pregnancy industrial complex



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When we meet Ilana Glazer in the opening minutes of Hulu’s False positive, released today on the streaming network, the actor-comedian-writer-director is unrecognizable. For starters, her iconic fuzzy curls are styled straight, which is shocking to fans of her sarcastic hipster alter ego in the beloved Comedy Central series. Wide city. She is also covered in blood. But the subtle feminist satire that runs through this horror film, which was directed by John Lee from a screenplay he fleshed out with Glazer, beckons Rosemary baby while taking a critical look at the Pregnancy Industrial Complex, which is very much in Glazer’s wheelhouse.

“As a woman, it’s the only thing I’m supposed to be able to do and I can’t do it,” laments Lucy, the character of Glazer, an upwardly mobile millennial working in an advertising agency. shop, at the start of the film after yet another pregnancy test comes back negative. With her consent, her doctor husband, Adrian (Justin Theroux), arranges an appointment for them at an elite female reproduction center, run by her former teacher John Hindle (Pierce Brosnan). Sterile and exclusive, with all the accessories you would expect from a high-end gynecological visit (there’s an almost uncomfortable time spent getting Brosnan ready for his transvaginal ultrasound wand), the office moves from place to place. of promise and exaltation – Lucy successfully gets pregnant – in a place of distress and mistrust as she becomes convinced that Dr. Hindle and her husband are planning something sinister, made possible by a frosty avatar of a nurse in fertility, expertly performed by Gretchen Mol. Lucy’s violent visions and lingering nightmares are only exacerbated when those around her – her husband, a new group of tasteless pregnant friends – begin to question her mental stability. She is ultimately making a last-minute change to her medical care, hiring an African-centric midwife named Grace Singleton (Zainab Jah), who rejects modern gynecology and the disenfranchisement that can often swirl around birth.

Things end up descending into almost supernatural territory as Lucy goes into labor, and her suspicions are confirmed by a plot ripped from the headlines. “We have this villain, and then this drop halfway through ‘Oh, my God I can’t believe this is this,’ and then we have this third act which is kind of like, ‘Oh shit!’ Glazer says of the process of expanding Lee’s original idea into a feature film that highlights important themes rarely discussed on the big screen: the idea of ​​losing agency on your body during pregnancy, and how mothers who give birth are often rejected and discouraged from creating a collaborative environment for their care. Ironically, the urge to explore these ideas came from Lee, who was haunted by the experience of seeing his partner miscarry. “Her nightmare of being outside of the pregnancy experience, that it’s this thing that you have no control over, was really how I felt,” says Glazer – before, that is. say she got pregnant with her first child last year during the pandemic. “It’s just scary as hell,” she jokes, showing up to the movie’s premiere last week at the end of her own third trimester.

Below, Glazer reflects on this bizarre case of art-mimicking life (minus the psychological torture), while also offering a definitive guide to pregnant stand-up, as you’ll need a few moments of levity after this one.

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