Directed by Eileen Abarrca, Jordan Auten | Review by Helen WheelsFrankie is a sexually liberated and self-assured independent single woman. Until the day her doctor puts her on notice that she’s quickly approaching infertility. You can almost hear the tick-tock of Frankie’s biological clock once she gets the news of her impending barren womb. It doesn’t help that it seems most of her female friends are pregnant. Then somehow, through no fault of her own, she ends up spending a baby shower holding a toddler. Her interactions with the tiny human convince her she needs a baby of her own. It’s now or never, and so she’s inspired to do everything she can to manufacture a child before it’s too late.
Co-directors Eileen Abarrca and Jordan Auten’s short film, “Grit”, follows Frankie — played by Abarrca, as she nears forty, and suddenly realizes that motherhood seems important. Abarrca and Jauten take a serious subject and turn it into a drama with some full-fledged comedic laugh out loud moments. Frankie’s unapologetic decision to get pregnant without letting anyone in on the secret provides all the comedy in this thirteen minute and fifteen-second short film. She goes about getting the job done in the same no-nonsense manner we imagine that she’s taken care of her life as a single woman. She doesn’t have a serious boyfriend, but that doesn’t appear to be an issue in Frankie’s mind. She needs a man for one thing only, and he doesn’t need to give her permission. Ultimately, Frankie wants a baby, but she doesn’t see any need for the traditional trappings that go along with motherhood.
Eileen Abarrca wrote, co-directed, and plays the lead role of Frankie in her short film Grit. She says in her director’s statement, “I wrote this film because, in today’s society, many women are pursuing their educations, starting their own businesses, becoming financially independent, traveling the world, and investing in themselves before having children. I wanted to see positive examples of women like this on the screen.”
A woman’s right to choose whether she will have a baby is always an area of debate. We have long thought of mothers regarding their position more so than seeing a woman as an individual who has a baby. Abarrca and Auten fearlessly comment on the loneliness of an individual woman’s right to choose. The directors do so in such a way that leaves the topic of abortion by the wayside. However, we still are forced to consider the men in this movie. Do they have a right to know that Frankie is using them as a dispensary? I feel like they do, but this question wasn’t a consideration in the movie. “Grit” is a thought-provoking exploration from a single woman’s point of view that is as funny as it is serious. Frankie is nearing an age when her options of becoming pregnant are thinning. If she isn’t in a committed relationship, then should she make the choice to have a baby and raise it alone?
Helen Wheels is an independent filmmaker, freelance writer, and visual artist. She has produced, directed, worked as a set designer and scenic painter, and has been an assistant director on dozens of films. Wheels graduated from Shoreline College with an AAAS in Digital Film Production and is continuing toward her MFA in New Media Communications. Known for her eye to detail and advanced research skills, Wheels is currently researching historical events for her latest script and is in the process of developing her online writing business.