Angry Annie (2022)

Directed by Blandine Lenoir

Annie becomes pregnant. Since she doesn't want to keep the child, she meets a movement that performs illegal abortions. But, in the seventies, Annie will encounter allies and opponents along the way.

Seattle International Film Festival 2023: Film #2

After so many impactful and harrowing dramas that centre on abortion in the last few years, it's a curious decision to make one with virtually zero drama whatsoever. From beginning to end, the entire cast is selfless and unthreatening, and their abortion group is so much like a book club that it's even held in the storeroom of a literal bookstore. Indeed, it's not entirely clear where the anger is meant to be.

Yet Angry Annie's refusal to dramatize abortion is almost certainly a deliberate political decision, insofar as naturalising the act of abortion is ipso facto a political act, in something of the same way that Chantal Akermann's Jeanne Dielman… makes a political film 'about the everyday'. (Indeed, I don't think it's an accident that one of the characters is called Chantal.) On the political axis as well, however, the film also reads like an unnecessary 'France does this better' jab at the contemporary United States.

Still, whilst the film places almost zero trust in the audience to get its overly-didactic message, Angry Annie's curiously shapeshifting tone makes for a not uninteresting watching experience, and it is rather regrettable that Audrey Diwan's L'Événement (2021) so recently tackled the same subject matter in a clearly superior manner.