A Bump Along the Way (Shelly Love, 2019): UK

Reviewed by Scott Kipp. Viewed at SBIFF on opening night 01-15-2020.

The lead character, Pamela, works part time in a pastry shop when she gets knocked up.

A Bump Along the Way starts with drunken Pamela, played by Bronagh Gallagher, getting shagged in a van on her birthday after a long night of partying.  She doesn’t think she’ll get pregnant because of her age and poor health, but her carelessness sets the stage for the drama in the film.

An interesting twist in the plot is that the single mother gets pregnant instead of the teenage daughter. The daughter, played by Lola Petticrew, is embarrassed by her mom who other students know because she works in the pastry shop. The daughter is really mean to her mom and disrespects her like many teenagers today.  Teenage angst against their parents are all too real and the daughter has many problems at school as well where she is bullied. The whole movie is set up for failure.

A big part of the movie is how the family is struggling to get by with minimal child support on minimum wage. The kitchen is a main setting in the movie and the set designers did a good job of making it look worn out and old. The new child on the way adds to the financial problems of the small family. The setting in the working class town of Derry, Northern Ireland solidifies the point of being past it’s prime. I got the feeling that there wasn’t much upward mobility in the stratified community.

The movie was very realistic and depressing. From the 40-year-old mother getting knocked up with endometriosis and one fallopian tube to the brooding teenager making bad decisions at school, the characters were in dire straits and heading downhill fast. Lighting was natural and they followed the teenage daughter through her daily life in a noisy school with lots of kids.

One bright spot in the film is Pamela’s friend Sinead, played by Mary Moulds. Brits are known for being social and having a good drink at the pub, but Pamela even needs to stop these social activities with a new baby in her belly. I have the feeling that Pamela will have many more changes to come.  She has to be a single mother for a second time with much less energy in her 40s and 50s.

I’d categorize this film as a depressing chick flick that shows the downside of carelessness and lack of vision. The technical sides of the film were very well done and the acting is solid.

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