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Tom Webb’s documentary about men’s experiences of fertility treatment is a well-intentioned film on a valid subject – but I found it flawed, over-reliant on six talking heads, almost to the exclusion of any other explanatory style. Webb speaks to six men whose partners are undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF), a notoriously painful, upsetting, intimately invasive procedure.
Men often don’t know how to express their feelings, or indeed if they are allowed to have feelings. They do what appears to be “the easy bit” in fertility treatment – supplying the sperm and then waiting while the woman goes through the incomparably more challenging business of IVF and then (they hope) pregnancy and childbirth.
Men often don’t want to talk about their own frustration and sorrow at the many setbacks, and not necessarily because they’re emotionally illiterate – they want to be quietly supportive for their partners. Webb’s film is simply dominated by these talking heads, interspersed with educational-video-style talks about what happens.
This approach was unvarying and emotionally hectoring, especially when Webb switches to the men talking in voiceover while showing these faces in closeup doing a slow blink and then a mute soulful/sad face. However, there is humour, especially when one man remembers realising that the room in which he was expected to produce the sample was the same one in which he had the initial consultation. But these uninterrupted testimonies are overextended.
The Easy Bit is available on Vimeo on 29 April.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: The Easy Bit review – how men get to grips with IVF | Documentary films