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Making Grace

A nice documentary about some nice lesbians striving to conceive a cute little baby, Making Grace is the cinematic equivalent of a pleasant Sunday afternoon spent drinking cappuccinos, listening to NPR, and filling out the New York Times crossword puzzle—undemanding, upscale, and agreeable enough in a low-key kind of way. It's a film of subtle, ingratiating charm rather than explosive revelations.

Making Grace chronicles the long, complicated path to fertility and childbirth traveled by a pair of upper-middle-class New York lesbians. The fact that they just happen to be lesbians doesn't factor too heavily in the film's opening segments, which deal with the surreal ritual of choosing an appropriate semi-anonymous donor to provide the sperm for their child. (After all, a child conceived with Walter Cronkite's semen is liable to turn out much differently than one generated from the sperm of a two-time felon.) The strange process forces the couple to make a life-altering decision based on seemingly random bits of trivia, as when one of the pair hopes for a donor who prefers Thai food and sushi over pizza and burgers. Making Grace gives the audience a good idea of what its subjects are like as people before even vaguely politicizing their journey or addressing thornier issues of identity politics. The expectant mother (Ann Krsul) is a work-obsessed neurotic who begins worrying about their child even before she's born, fretting that a sonogram showing an unusual amount of activity might indicate a future tendency toward Attention Deficit Disorder. Her partner, Leslie Sullivan, seems more grounded and less work-obsessed, and volunteers to become a stay-at-home mom while Krsul's fat paychecks support their growing brood.

Together, they face and surmount minor hurdles, but nothing terribly dramatic ever transpires. It's just a small pleasure to share their company for 90 minutes—nothing more, nothing less. Making Grace documents the conception and early life of the couple's first child, and while a second child is subsequently conceived, the film's quiet affability doesn't exactly demand a sequel. Krsul and Sullivan eventually emerge as something resembling loving, responsible poster children for lesbian parenting, but thankfully not at the expense of their quirkiness, neuroses, or humanity.

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