But wait…there’s more! The cherry on top of Savarna’s pressure cake is that her family turns out to be directly descended from the Buddha. The Buddha! So it is entirely plausible that the reason everyone is so anxious for Savarna to have a child is that there is the very real possibility that her child could be the reincarnation of the Buddha. Now that’s pressure!
A major reason that The Last Conception works so well is due to the central performance of Nazanin Mandi. Mandi, a wonderfully engaging actor, crucially chooses to adopt an “I can’t believe this is my life” perspective for Savarna. This is the absolutely perfect note to hit in a light culture-comedy such as this. It would have muddled the film’s tone had director Gabriela Ledesma encouraged her to assume a more neurotic or frantic style. Savarna knows she has a lot to deal with, but she will handle it in her own time and with grace.
“…skillfully arranges a sweet story along with plenty of heart and soul…”
The Last Conception reminded me in some ways of Ang Lee’s 1993 comedy The Wedding Banquet in terms of its eastern-versus-western ideas surrounding homosexuality. The Last Conception, however, only seems to employ the gay aspect of these characters as a springboard for the real meat of the culture clash: the old world’s insistence upon grandchildren and the duty to one’s heritage versus the more modern notion of individual freedom to choose one’s family. A major strength of The Last Conception is its understanding that Savarna is in control of her destiny but never disrespectful of where she comes from.
The movie was written by Gabriel Constans, based on his novel, and is frequently hilarious, which contributes immeasurably to the sprightliness of the plot. Carroll and George have some very funny moments when it comes to Amaya’s care, and Bidasha, in a tender performance, beautifully nails the meddling-but-compassionate Mira. The Last Conception skillfully arranges a sweet story along with plenty of heart and soul into a beautiful, well-intended, and entertaining package.
"…understanding that Savarna is in control of her destiny but never disrespectful of where she comes from."