Matt and Anna are complete opposites. Matt is kind but awkward. Anna is quiet but sassy. And that might matter if they were actually dating, but they’re not. Anna is Matt’s gestational surrogate.
An app developer in his mid 40s, Matt is divorced but ready to settle down like most of his friends. And while some may want a spouse with whom to raise a child, Matt is content doing so on his own.
Sorta. See, he’s lonely. But so is Anna.
Anna, a 26-year-old young woman, is ready to get her degree and move forward in life; something she felt like she never got to do after getting pregnant in high school and giving her baby up for adoption.
But things are different now. Now, Anna is much older and sees surrogacy as a way to pay for her future. Plus, she’s already learned how to be emotionally disconnected. So, what could be so hard about this?
Turns out a lot. Especially when two very different people come together on an intimate journey that is sure to change their lives.
Anna is good at setting boundaries and handling things in a calm, even manner. Although she often tries to mask her emotions and pain, she makes a real connection with Matt and begins to be vulnerable around him. She’s also genuinely kind.
As for Matt, he’s cherishes deep connection and tries hard to make Anna feel loved and appreciated. He also takes care of her throughout her entire pregnancy, both emotionally and physically.
As the film progresses, the two learn how to connect and depend on one another.
Anna admits she’s not religious but says that her family is. She also tells Matt that by being a surrogate, she’s trying to put “good karma in the bank.” A New Agey doula leads birthing classes.
Anna tells Matt she’s having casual sex while pregnant with his child and Matt is angered. The two of them discuss this quite a bit, including the intricacies of the act itself and male genitalia. Matt awkwardly asks if Anna is “clothed or unclothed” before he enters the doctor’s office where Anna is having a vaginal exam.
Matt tells Anna that he was previously married for eight years but that his marriage ended in divorce. Although the reason is never discussed, Matt tells Anna that they would go home from counseling and “continue not sleeping together.”
Jules, an effeminate male, crudely talks to Anna about different sexual positions and sexual acts. He also jokes about receiving a picture of a man’s anatomy and says he’s dating “two people named Sam.” Jules tells Anna that he has an app that tracks her menstrual cycle. A lesbian couple signs up to be surrogates.
Jules and Anna talk about a dating app where you just look at people while you consider if you like them or not. Matt and Anna discuss their 20-year age difference and how, for Anna, it would be “creepy” to date a man that much older than herself. That then leads to a discussion about several Woody Allen films involving young girls who sleep with older men.
Anna verbally describes how to insert a tampon in case Matt’s baby is a girl.
The f-word is used three times. The “s-word” and “a–hole” are each used once, as is an abbreviation for “b–ch” (in which a man calls a woman a “b”).
Men and women consume champagne and wine and one person talks about getting drunk.
Anna tells Matt that when she got pregnant in high school that her family began to look at her critically. At one point, someone in the family told her that all she was good at was “getting pregnant.” So, she moved far away and cut off communication with them once she gave her baby up for adoption and graduated high school.
In a similar sense, Matt too deals with criticism. His mother is never pleased with him, no matter how hard he tries. She’s very open about her displeasure with him and his life choices.
Anna and Matt have a few discussions about being pro-life or pro-choice. Anna tells Matt that just because a woman gives her baby up for adoption (like her first child while in high school), that doesn’t mean she is pro-life. Anna and Matt use gender neutral pronouns to describe Matt’s future child.
Anna tells Matt that she once stole pens. Anna vomits.
Together Together isn’t the first film I’ve seen that deals with surrogacy. But it is the first I’ve seen that focuses on the emotional intricacies that inevitably come with the process. Such as how difficult it can be to connect with people or to disconnect when emotionally necessary. Or how truly intimate it is to grow a child inside of you. Even how to maintain a loving friendship instead of wading into a romantic relationship.
All these elements are portrayed quite well here. I felt a strong, emotional connection throughout the entire film with both characters. And while there is a lot of humor, vulnerability and sweetness here, there are also some problems.
For starters, the lead here (Patti Harrison) is a transgender woman in real life, playing a woman in the film. And that sexual fluidity is apparent and discussed, primarily as the baby growing inside Anna’s uterus is called “they” instead of he or she. There’s also a very poignant discussion about being pro-life or pro-choice.
And, pushing this film into its R-rating, sexual topics are discussed at length and profanity is heard in a few scenes. However, I actually felt like many films rated PG-13 are much harsher, content-wise, than this R-rated story is.
Together Together offers an interesting, at times crude, springboard into a conversation about surrogacy. That said, it never gets deeply into the ethical and theological issues in play with this complex and multilayered subject. If you’d like to explore some of the questions about surrogacy that this film ultimately doesn’t deal with, we’d encourage you to check out the Focus on the Family article “Perspectives on Surrogate Motherhood.”
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).