My Body, My Child (1982) starring Vanessa Redgrave, Jack Albertson, Joseph Campanella, Stephen Elliott, James Naughton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon directed by Marvin J. Chomsky Movie Review

My Body, My Child (1982)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Vanessa Redgrave in My Body, My Child (1982)


The death of her mum left Leenie Cabrezi (Vanessa Redgrave - Yanks) feeling devastated but she believes a miracle happened on that night as she is sure she is pregnant. But after visiting Dr. Dan Berensen (James Naughton), who had just worked a night shift, he assures her that she isn't and prescribes her various tablets to perk her up and allow her to sleep. Still feeling sick she visits another doctor, a friend of her brother-in-law's, who gives her a series of x-rays whilst her husband Joe (Joseph Campanella) takes her away for a small vacation in the hope it will help as he and Poppa (Jack Albertson) think it is the loss of her mum which is behind her feeling down. But a car accident leads to a surprising and devastating turn of events.

It's been over 30 years since "My Body, My Child" was made and watching it now there is no denying that the movie is dated. In fact the opening scenes feel extremely stilted and forced which initially makes it extremely hard to get into but it is worth persisting with. I say that because as the story falls into place, and it takes some time as it tries to paint a full picture with several elements, it becomes captivating with an interesting storyline and good performances.

Joseph Campanella in My Body, My Child (1982)

Now "My Body, My Child" starts with the situation surrounding Leenie's mother and it takes a bit of time establishing this and then it seems to go off on a tangent as it then switches to a group of doctors, laughing about a medical malpractice suit whilst we also see a Dr who is more interested in his own life and playing golf. All of this eventually leads to Leenie believing she is pregnant but is not only given various tablets to take but also put through a series of x-rays. All of which leads to the eventual discovery that Leenie is pregnant and all the tablets and x-rays has left her possibly carrying a handicapped child. But the story doesn't stop there because Leenie doesn't believe in abortion but has to think about it for the sake of the baby.

All of which makes for a much more interesting movie than it seems to be at the start and what seems a lot of needless story ends up being important facts in the bigger picture. The whole series of scenes surrounding the medical profession is especially interesting not just in the presentation of doctors laughing and playing golf but also that they are over worked leading to errors. And the dynamics within the Cabrezi home also make for fascinating viewing as Joe and Poppa think it is the death of her mum making Leenie down.

Now like with the movie the acting starts of a bit shaky but the longer it goes on the more compelling it becomes. Vanessa Redgrave as Leenie delivers a stunning performance on an emotional level as the story unfolds and Joseph Campanella equally grows in to his character getting over what seems a cliche husband at the start. The chemistry between them may never seem right especially early on but like their performances it grows. And on an amusing side note for the sharp eyed viewer "Sex and the City" stars Cynthia Nixon and Sarah Jessica Parker are cast as two of Leenie's daughters.

What this all boils down to is that "My Body, My Child" is a movie which starts off very shaky and slow but it builds into a fascinating movie with a lot more depth than you would have imagined at the start.