When three friends who met at 20, when they studied abroad in Paris, meet to celebrate the first one among them to turn 40, they party hard. But by the end of the evening the conversation drifts toward what they’d imagined for themselves at 40… and realize no one is even remotely close to their original plans for family, kids or just committed partners.
Amanda, 39, a Doctor, tries to regulate her biological time-bomb while in a 5-year relationship with, Bill, 40, who is ambiguous about having children. Having postponed motherhood during Medical School, Amanda is now painfully aware of her decreasing fertility prospects. So when she finally asks him for a sperm donation for in vitro and he weasels out – right before her departure to a medical conference in Paris – she’s finally had enough. She cancels what would have been their “fertilization celebration” in the City of Lights, and decides take her two best friends instead.
Shocked by her bestie's sudden declaration of love, gay TV-writer Kate, 39, freaks out – and a trip to Paris seems like the perfect escape. Once there, she reconnects with the woman she first fell in love with – the one who made her realize she was a lesbian. Tempted by the revival of young love, Kate jumps in – only to find herself out of cadence with her old flame, and longing for her bestie. But when she contemplates transforming the friendship into romance, she feels scared to death to embark on a relationship with someone she holds so dear.
Stuck in dead-end relationships with married guys, guys who are her boss or married guys who are her boss, labor Lawyer Kirsten, 39, wants to cut to the chase and just get pregnant. Having gotten pregnant twenty years prior with her Parisian boyfriend, Greg, she often thinks of how her life would have been different had she decided to keep the baby. So when a trip back to Paris presents the opportunity to reunite with Greg, she imagines an opportunity to live what could have been.
As they tussle with the gap between their fantasies and reality, they’re challenged to let go of their expectations and create new ways to experience love, family and motherhood.
Number of Pages:93
Country of Origin:United States
Cannes Film Festival - Short Film sectionCannes, France
May 15, 2013
PBS Short Film FestivalPBS Stations across the US
December 15, 2012
Silvia Grossmann is a storyteller, at first in illustration, photography and now film. She likes to chronicle the absurdity of life and aspires to live up to the Oscar Wilde adage: "If you must tell the truth, do so with humor – otherwise people will kill you.”
Her photographs have been shown all over the world, and recently in the Museum of Modern Art. Her latest short film has premiered at Cannes and aired on PBS. You can see more of her work at www.getoutofthebox.net.
When I turned 40, the decision to have children suddenly showed up in my rearview mirror, like an approaching object much, much larger than it appeared. I had been living a carefree life, and the urgency of making such a momentous decision caught me completely unprepared.
Split between perplexity and the exigency of dealing with it with little time to reflect, it quickly became the largest thing in my life: the sudden desire to procreate was something I'd never, ever expected would happen to me, the person who was always so set on not having kids.
With no partner at the time and afraid of how it would change my life in ways I could not predict, the pressure of deciding yay or nay threw me into a full-blown existential crisis.
What about the warming planet? Overpopulation? Covid -19? For starters, could I afford, financially and emotionally, IVF? And what if I succeeded to gestate, did I have the physical, emotional and financial resources to be the only parent and sustain a child growing up?
Being a filmmaker, I looked for references in media, specifically in film, that related to that moment in a woman’s life… and found none. In sharing what was going on with my community of women – some gay and some straight, in couples or not – it seemed that a good part of them had or were grappling with that issue – but doing so quietly, privately, afraid to be judged or jinxed by openly discussing it.
Having lived a life of privilege – with opportunities, fun and possibilities to discover the world – I suddenly found myself with little choice, constrained by circumstances, limited by nature. A place I never thought I’d ever be: on the last of all my possible plans.
With all those questions swirling in my mind, while the sun was steadily setting on my fertility horizon, I needed clarity.
Plan Z came to be as a way to deal with that terrifying – and humbling – moment. What surprised me as the story came pouring out, was that it was actually... funny.
The film taps on the universal fantasy of reliving our lives backwards, informed by 20/20 hindsight. Our protagonists get the chance to remake their choices, in the city synonymous with romance: Paris.
With so many of us engaged in non-traditional relationships, the issues of fertility and family arise in a different context than in previous generations. The existential questions and challenges of IVF for single women now have relevance for so many of us. And telling this story from a woman’s point of view is, dare I say it, important to the world.
The film is a romantic dramedy - except the object of romance here is the empowered self; the wiser, accepting self; the confident, at-peace-with-its-choices self. This is the story of women whom, after a lifetime of disappointing romances, finally find love – for each other, for their choices and for the life they created for themselves.