Narrative, Drama, Family, 16 min
Kat and her wife Julia live in Los Angeles with their 4-year-old daughter Becca. When Julia returns to work, Kat struggles after she assumes the role of the stay-at-home mom and starts to worry she would never be close with Becca. Kat’s fears only deepen when her brother Dylan, who is also Becca’s sperm donor, comes to visit for the first time after Becca was born. Dylan instantly connects with Becca, causing Kat to feel “second” and inadequate as a parent.
This is the untold tale of how parents can struggle to form a connection with their children, through no fault of their own…
There is a water theme and notions of swimming throughout this film, yet it never drifts away from its core message – and indeed, what an important story it tells. Kat has just taken on the role of a stay-at-home mom to her daughter Becca, whilst her wife, Julia, who is the biological mother and had taken care of Becca for the past 3 years, returns to work. This is the untold tale of how parents can struggle to form a connection with their children, through no fault of their own. Within a mere 14 minutes this film succeeds in portraying the very real dynamics of a lesbian family. It can be messy, multi-layered and stressful, just like any other family, but equally full of love.
Second Parent was written and directed by Penny Pin-Jung Chen, who is a Taiwanese filmmaker now based in LA and recent graduate from the MFA program of Film and TV production at USC School of Cinematic Arts. The story is powerful and truly tugged at the heart-strings in an effortless way. Even though I am not a parent myself, I could see the anxiety, sacrifice, and hopelessness in the strained face of Kat, played by Jinny Chung. I must commend the casting director of this film, Tom Chou, for selecting the ensemble of actors in this film that brought out all the feelings with their stunning acting. I have to admit that occasionally in films with child actors I can find the child to come across as fake or irritating but thankfully in this case she was very believable and brought the story to life.
Much like water itself, this film had depths beyond its surface, it had many waves of emotions, and in a short space of time it was able to showcase the joys alongside the trials and tribulations, and even phobias of parenthood; for a woman-loving-woman couple or otherwise. There are some key messages embedded within that we would all do well to remember, including to “please be kind to yourself” and “take deep breaths”. Parenthood is by no means easy and Second Parent offers an invaluable insight into being the second “Mama” of a young Asian lesbian family; which is not only riveting but also great representation for LBTQ families and for cultural diversity.
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Writer, Reviewer, Social
Ping believes in the power of love and kindness, and that "love is love" no matter what shape or form it comes in. She would like to see positive representation for all walks of life in film and media.