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Critics Review
Sara’s review: Anna Ben continues her winning run in this peppy film about choosing to be childfree

Director Jude Anthany Joseph, who has scripted Sara’s, addresses the parenthood dilemma that most new-age couples go through, in a balanced and sensitive manner. Even while convincing the audience of Sara’s decision and her reasons, he also shows the other side

3.5
Sanjith Sidhardhan
Jul 05, 2021
 
cover image

Anna Ben in a still from Sara's

Story: Assistant director Sara Vincent (Anna Ben) ardently chases her goal to make her first film. Supporting her in this cause is her boyfriend and eventual husband Jeevan (Sunny Wayne), who also prioritises her dreams and doesn’t let the society’s expectations of having children after wedding stand in the way. However, the day her dream starts to materialise, she is also forced to make another decision that could change her life in this Amazon Prime Video release.

Review: Director Jude Anthany Joseph’s previous two movies – Ohm Shanthi Oshaana and Oru Muthassi Gadha – narrated tales of empowered women, who chased their dreams and didn’t let the society’s conventions pull them down. Both films were neatly packaged with entertaining elements which made the watch even sweeter. In that regard, Jude’s latest venture Sara’s is no different. In fact, it’s all the more impressive that he tackles a much more pertinent subject – of choosing to be childfree – with the same deft and delightful touch of his earlier films.

Sara’s revolves around its titular character Sara Vincent (Anna Ben), who from her formative years is clear about one thing – she doesn’t want to have children. Having toiled as an assistant director for a few years, her dream is to helm her first movie. A visit to a forensic expert’s house for the research of her script leads to a chance meeting with Jeevan (Sunny Wayne), who shares her ideas about children. The duo get married, prioritising their dreams and goals over their family’s expectations and society’s conventions. However, the day Sara gets a call from a producer greenlighting her movie, she is also hit by another news – that puts the spotlight on her decision.  

Jude and scriptwriter Akshay Hareesh address the parenthood dilemma that most new-age couples go through, in a balanced and sensitive manner. Even while convincing the audience of Sara’s decision and her reasons, he also shows the other side. This is done masterfully through showing the life of a yesteryear actress, who had to give up her career after marriage to look after her family. She puts up a façade and ruefully compares being there to see her son grow with not getting a National Award for a role she couldn’t take up.

And it’s not just one or two counter-arguments that Jude presents, against the most basic reason for Sara’s decision that the majority doesn’t seem to understand. In fact, Jude builds up a brilliant case – with Srinda’s character, who is pregnant with her fourth child, and Mallika Sukumaran’s, who has spent most of her life taking care of her children. While most movies would keep harping on a woman’s career ambitions and aspirations, Sara’s strips it down to the most basic layer – about choosing one’s own happiness.

Even as the couple is forced to re-evaluate their decisions, in several nuanced scenes, Jude tries to show how a mentally-strong woman’s resolve can be tested – through her family and even by her partner who had pledged his support to her.

While the film does highlight an important subject, and effectively too, there are portions in the first half where the script doesn’t quite find its footing. Some of the lines in these portions too, such as references from Mayanadhi, come across as amateur writing and the lack of background music at these junctures slows it down further. However, Jude has precisely used clever doses of humour to lighten the mood.

After Kumbalangi Nights, Helen and Kappela, Anna continues her successful run, playing Sara with all the nuances. Hers is a refreshing character who is clear about what she wants in life. The movie, which is a slice of life of a modern couple, has Sara drinking beer, taking a puff of cigarette, talking about sex and stating clearly about her intentions of not having children to her family and her in-laws.

Sunny as Jeevan ably supports Anna’s character and puts his carefree charm and humour to good use in the film. Anna’s father Benny P Nayarambalam also shines as Sara’s ever-supportive dad, an extension of Renji Panicker’s role from Ohm Shaanthi Oshaana. The movie also has some good cameos from Siju Wilson, Jibu Jacob, Vineeth Sreenivasan, Shaan Rahman, Prashanth Nair IAS and Aju Varghese.

Sara’s is a refreshing movie with delightful performances and packs some strong messages about a woman being the sole decision-maker when it comes to matters of her body and why parenthood isn’t for everyone. If Jude was aiming to start some discussions or at least make more people aware, then he should succeed with the sweetly-packaged and rightly-titled film.

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