After a regrettable first sexual encounter, a straight-laced high school student named Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) and her slacker best friend Lupe (Victoria Moroles) have twenty-four hours to hunt down a Plan B pill in America’s heartland.
Coming-of-age movies seem to release every other month which is weird because it wasn’t always like that. Whenever there was a coming-of-age movie, it was a little bit rare and whatever film it was, usually turned out to be great. Many people could spend hours talking about their love for Superbad and maybe even Clueless, two admittedly excellent films, but my all-time favorite is easily Kelly Fremon Craig’s The Edge of Seventeen, a movie that depicted high-school life so accurately it was insane. And don’t even get me started on Hailee Steinfeld‘s performance and how it really should have won an Academy Award.
But it seems like after The Edge of Seventeen came out, dozens of other studios tried to replicate that film’s success and while a lot of these new coming-of-age flicks are good, it seems like maybe they should slow down a bit. Now, what do you think of when you think of a movie in this genre? Probably a high-school boy or girl that has to find their voice and traverse through personal problems such as love, family, and friends, right? Right. However, not a lot of coming-of-age movies tend to focus on pregnancy or abortion.
One of the rare exceptions to that rule was Rachel Lee Goldenberg‘s Unpregnant, which was a wonderfully hilarious, sweet, and emotionally gripping story that followed a seventeen-year-old girl who becomes pregnant and embarks on a time-crunching mission to get an abortion before it’s too late.
For some reason, I think studios are still a little bit too scared to tackle this matter head-on, and I don’t know why. Unpregnant got rave reviews from both critics and audiences alike and one of the reasons why people fell in love with it was because of how sincere and emotionally charged it was. We need to see more stories like this in the genre, but we don’t ever really get them for whatever reason.
But filmmaker Natalie Morales seems to agree that we need more stories about pregnancy and/or abortion because her latest feature Plan B is an excellently directed, superbly sharp, and endearing movie about one girl’s mission to find a Plan B pill when time is running extremely short.
One of the reasons why this movie works as well as it does is because of just how relatable it is. Even if you’ve never been pregnant or even if you’ve never even “done the deed”, you will probably still find some things in this film that you can relate to. One of the most relatable and adorable things about Plan B is the relationship between best friends Sunny and Lupe, who feel like real-life best friends and not actors in any way. They can tell each other anything and they will often spend hours in their car talking about the most random things, and it all feels so real because this is the kind of stuff best friends in real life do.
A lot of movies that deal with sex and particularly teen-centric movies will often go for raunchy shock humor in a desperate attempt at making the audience laugh and it almost never works. Why do scriptwriters feel the need to make every movie even remotely related to sex so raunchy and over-the-top? It’s a mystery that I’ll probably never fully solve but gratefully the script here by Prathi Srinivasan and Joshua Levy is not like that at all.
It actually tackles sex, pregnancy, and other matters with a sense of maturity that we rarely ever see in movies aimed towards teens. Nothing about it feels preachy or too much either. It all feels so authentic and genuine, and it’s all thanks to the wonderful writing on display and Morales’s beautiful direction.
But even if this movie is probably going to get the most love from teenagers, it’s the type of movie that adults are going to get a kick out of as well. And like I said earlier, you don’t even have to have gone through the problems that Sunny has gone through in order to relate to this story. You’ll more than likely relate to it in at least one way or another, or if you don’t, you’ll surely find yourself laughing so hard your stomach hurts at the movie’s brilliant sense of humor.
The film’s ultimate journey can be a little bit predictable along the way as it does follow some of the tried and true formulas of other coming-of-age teen movies. So you’ll probably be able to predict where the story is going to go at the end of the day, but it’s not something that’s too frustrating because the rest of the movie is just so well-crafted it’s easy to look past.
It’s one of those movies where I genuinely hope it becomes a huge success on streaming platforms but it sadly won’t for whatever reason. I was thinking that Unpregnant would be a massive hit with audiences but it seems like not many people have even heard of the movie, let alone watched it.
The movie does have the benefit of being released during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time where many people are still stuck at home with nothing to do, so maybe it will help, but even still I’m not entirely sure. It seems like slowly but surely movie theatres are starting to open back up all around the world, so this movie’s likelihood of success is really anybody’s guess, but I hope that it attracts a lot of people on Hulu. Trust me, this is one film you don’t want to miss.
Overall Grade: A-
MPAA Rating: TV-MA
Directed by: Natalie Morales
Distributed by: Hulu
Release Date: May 28, 2021
Running Time: 107 minutes