By Nadia Dalimonte
From left to right: Sullivan Jones, Jasmine Batchelor, and Chris Perfetti in The Surrogate (2020)
Jasmine Batchelor delivers an absolute tour de force in The Surrogate. This film is heartfelt, complex, funny, deeply honest, and opens the door to many conversations. The story centers on Jess (Batchelor), who is incredibly excited and optimistic about being the surrogate for her two best friends, Josh and Aaron. But when the three receive news about a prenatal test, Josh and Aaron have second thoughts, threatening their friendship and raising moral concerns.
Batchelor carries the film on her shoulders with a show stopping performance. She’s in every scene, and the natural charisma she carries in this character is always compelling to watch. Not one moment is wasted. She does a fantastic job portraying the headspace of someone who’s really at a crossroads, not only in terms of the surrogacy but also with her career and personal relationships.
What the film does exceptionally well is portray the complexities of how we try to navigate through life when problems come up, how we deal individually and in response to others. There are so many little moments when characters are portrayed in different lights and reveal more about themselves than they intend to, simply as a reaction to when things don’t go their way or aren’t ideal. The film is refreshingly truthful and challenging. Writer and director Jeremy Hersh has a committed, thoughtful, and confident voice in his storytelling.
The shining star of The Surrogate is certainly Batchelor, who deserves a lot more praise and a bigger audience for a wonderful film debut.