Last week, FilmBuff released "Romeo, Romeo"—a new documentary that goes deep into the emotional struggles of
Jessica Casano-Antonellis and her wife, Alexis (Lexy) Casano-Antonellis are ready for baby. From the start, the inherently nurturing Lexy has wanted to be the one carrying their child (and the biological mother) and spunky, career-driven Jessica wants nothing to do with that chapter of motherhood—the rest she's excited for, albeit a little nervous. We are rooting for Lexy, a nanny and a youth choir teacher, to get pregnant and fulfill her dream of becoming a mom.
The couple has opted for an anonymous sperm donor, which they've paid for out of their savings. Lexy begins the bout of medical appointments and goes for artificial insemination in the doctor's office. But after multiple tries, she's not pregnant. Even though she is young, Lexy seems to have fertility problems. Jessica and Lexy must now try in-vitro fertilization, an expensive and emotionally taxing process, which leads to dangerous medical complications for Lexy.
It's obstacle after obstacle for these women who so badly want to be mothers. Though it may take some time to ease into the film and connect to their story, you will end up clenching your fists in anticipation each time Lexy takes a pregnancy test, hoping that a happy ending will come.
While the movie certainly examines the emotional and financial toll that all of the trying and not succeeding takes on these women, the film's greatest merit is how it helps the audience understand what it's like to try and get pregnant as a) gay women and b) a woman with fertility issues. Director Lizzie Gottlieb doesn't gloss over the legal or medical complications, of which there are many.
As Jessica gets deeply familiar with hormone and drug terminology (what each pill or shot is for, how it works, how much it costs), injection schedules (3 AM wakeup calls may be necessary) and procedure details on behalf of her wife, the audience, in turn, learns the nitty-gritty of terms like IVF, which are often thrown around in conversation today. Watching their journey, it's clear how committed Lexy and Jessica are to building a family—a feeling parents and wannabe parents will understand in their core. You won't believe how their achingly difficult experience turns out.
Click here to view the trailer for "Romeo, Romeo," available for rental or purchase at Vimeo On Demand.