Nina Davenport looks for some good news.
FIRST COMES LOVE (Nina Davenport). 105 minutes. Opens Friday (January 31) at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
In 2000's Always A Bridesmaid, autobiographical documentarian Nina Davenport explored the heartache of never catching a marriage proposal. In First Comes Love, an unflinching sequel of sorts, Davenport tackles the anxieties of being a single 41-year-old who has her heart set on being a mother.
Concerned about her "rapidly diminishing ovarian reserve," she begins the complicated journey toward single parenthood by wrangling an unenthusiastic gay friend to be a sperm donor and her BFF to be a supportive partner.
Davenport interviews friends and family for opinions on her venture, which includes injecting ample hormones and then sperm into her body. Some are sympathetic but few are truly committed for the long haul. On the other hand, some can be cruel. Davenport's practical father suggests that his "dilettante" daughter have an abortion instead of trying to raise a baby on her meagre income as a filmmaker.
For at least the first hour, Davenport's diary film effectively mines all the issues and distress that surface when facing such monumental decisions. Then comes the baby, and the film completely loses direction, reduced to ogling and only briefly addressing some of the challenges of raising a child.
It makes perfect sense, though. Davenport stops being a filmmaker and becomes a parent.