Uncertain Terms (2014)

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Director Nathan Silver has been doing some good work for a few years now. I was impressed by Exit Elena back in 2012, which meant that I was looking forward to seeing how he’d developed with Uncertain Terms. Unfortunately, this feels like a bit of a step back. It’s not that it’s a bad film. It’s just not as good as his previous work.

David Dahlbom stars as Robbie, a young man who arrives at the home of a relative (Carla, played by Cindy Silver) to help out and so some odd jobs for her. Carla runs a home for pregnant teenagers, young women who lack support from loved ones or, sometimes, family members. There are only five spaces to be filled at a time, but the house is always full. With a few of the girls happy to watch Robbie working around the place, tensions starts to rise as he develops a friendship with young Nina (India Menuez). Nina’s boyfriend (played by Casey Drogin) is none too happy about it either.

I just didn’t buy into the central development of Uncertain Terms, and that dragged the whole thing down by a point or two for me. If you do buy into it then you should end up liking it a lot more than I did, because the rest of the film works very well.

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The script, co-written by Silver, Chloe Domont and Cody Stokes, does a very good job of wandering through murky territory without ever making everything too unpalatable. Let’s face it, this could easily have turned into something a lot more uncomfortable, considering how much of the movie shows the hormones that start flying around while Robbie is in the company of all of these pregnant girls. Instead, this plays out more like an updated riff on The Beguiled than anything more exploitative.

Dahlbom does well enough in the main role, and Menuez also does fine. Tallie Medel stands out from the crowd, playing a young woman determined to get Robbie either into her bed or in trouble, and Drogin does well with a character all too easy to dislike. Cindy Silver is very sweet and amusing as Carla, the woman trying to help these girls through one of the most difficult experiences they may endure in their lives.

While it’s not got a good enough foundation to develop upon, Uncertain Terms works well enough with what it has. Worth a watch, I guess, but not worth going out of your way for.

DIRECTOR: NATHAN SILVER
WRITER: NATHAN SILVER, CHLOE DOMONT, CODY STOKES
STARS: DAVID DAHLBOM, INDIA MENUEZ, ADINAH DANCYGER, CINDY SILVER, TALLIE MEDEL, CASEY DROGIN
RUNTIME: 75 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: USA

Film Rating: ★★★☆☆

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