“Can someone really be pregnant for 5 years?” This was the main question I had on mind after watching the trailer for Strange But True. As farfetched as it sounded, and I’m sure it wasn’t the case, but for some odd reason this was my main reason for looking further into this film. Just reading the synopsis that a girlfriend whose boyfriend passed away five years ago, yet was pregnant with his child, just gave me the odd assumption.
Strange But True depicts the story of Phillip (Nick Robinson), who is dealing with the aftermath of his brother Ronnie‘s (Connor Jessup) death from 5 years ago. Ronnie‘s girlfriend Melissa (Margaret Qualley) returns and tries to reignite her ties with Phillip and his mum Charlene (Amy Ryan) by stating that she is pregnant with what she thinks is Ronnie‘s child.
As interesting as this story sounds, I felt the first sixty minutes were a complete waste of time and did the film no favours. It felt that we were going down roads that weren’t relevant to the films storyline, and if taken out, the film would probably still have made sense.
For example; the exploration that Ronnie‘s sperm could have been salvaged, frozen and then somehow injected into Melissa did not compliment towards the conclusion, neither did the assumption that Ronnie was interacting with his loved ones from beyond the grave. If there was purposefully meant to be any inclusion of supernatural elements, it was extremely weak and should have been taken out altogether. The film exploring avenues that had no overall impact to the end result of the narrative was just an act of desperation to fill in time.
I felt had the focus been entirely on Melissa and the journey of unveiling how she became pregnant, the film would have been more captivating, stronger and it would have been more effective in tying up the overall story. The only reason I say this, is because there are a few things that could have been explained more in detail, and the film could have benefitted, making the story and experience more interesting.
It wasn’t until the last 40 minutes of the film that we finally got to see some sort of suspense, thriller and a drastic shift in story direction, which was disappointing and wasn’t consistent all the way through.
The acting was very fluent and didn’t feel strained at all, mainly because it was also led by few veteran’s including acting greats such as Brian Cox, Blythe Danner and Greg Kinnear, however I think the torch bearer was Margaret Qualley. Her ability to misdirect the audience to second guess if her character was the real villain of the story, as well as her blunt personality really sold well.
Overall, Strange But True has some very odd storytelling and contains some elements that aren’t necessarily needed nor have any use towards the final conclusion. There is somewhat suspense and thrill, but only disappointingly towards the end of the film. I must admit however, I did like the twist. The acting was brilliant and lead by a great talented cast. Although, I strongly believe that had the plot been thought out better, Strange But True could have been so much more fulfilling.