While there has always been peer pressure and conversations regarding a biological clock regarding maternity, “Clock” depicts the experience in all its horror.


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While there has always been peer pressure and conversations regarding a biological clock regarding maternity, “Clock” depicts the experience in all its horror.

Director(s) Alexis Jacknow
Screenplay By Alexis Jacknow
Date Released (Hulu) Friday, April 28, 2023
Genre(s) Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi
Film Length 1 Hour 32 Minutes
Content Rating Rated TV-MA
Noted Characters and Cast
Ella Dianna Agron
Aidan Jay Ali
Shauna Grace Porter
Fiona (Fi) Laura Elizabeth Stuart
Joseph Saul Rubinek
Dr. Elizabeth Simmons Melora Hardin
Dr. Webber Nikita Patel

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

Ella Patel is a successful interior designer, married to a doctor named Aidan, and from her job, charity work, massages, and good sex, she feels like she has all she needs in life. However, her friends, such as Fiona and Shauna, present the idea that her not wanting to have children, and life without them, isn’t fulfilling. Aidan seems okay with not having kids or waiting until Ella is ready, but her father, Joseph? Oh, he guilts the hell out of her.

He uses being Jewish, and there not being many left in his mind, the Holocaust, and passing down one of the few things recovered – like a grandfather clock. All of this pushes Ella to see Dr. Elizabeth Simmons, hoping that, similar to depression, the lack of a desire for children could be due to a chemical imbalance.

But, in the pursuit of fixing one perceived problem, Ella causes many others.

Things To Note

Why Is “Clock” Rated TV-MA

  • Dialog: Cursing Throughout
  • Violence: Depiction of a gruesome murder, blood, and depictions of suicide
  • Sexual Content: Image of Aidan’s penis and ass, as well as him having sex with Ella
  • Miscellaneous: Smoking and graphic, unsettling imagery of childbirth (beyond the facts of what happens), including watching a baby hanging from an umbilical cord. Also, if you have arachnophobia (fear of spiders), this isn’t for you

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Ella

Ella is a 37 going-on 38-year-old interior designer who doesn’t want children and has felt this way for a long time. But, with her marriage going for ten years and many of her friends having kids, she feels increasingly pressured as she learns she is considered “geriatric” and no longer able to kick that can down the road.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Quinn Fabray in “Glee,” Maggie in “Acidman,” and Kim in “Shiva Baby.”

Aidan

Aidan is Ella’s husband, who is a doctor, who has appeared fine with him and Ella having a family comprised of just them.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Kaine in “Carnival Row,” Sam Tucker in “The Purge,” Vaughan Daldry in “Bloomers,” and Timothy in “The Fosters.”

Shauna

Shauna is Ella’s pregnant friend, hoping that Ella will design her nursery and eventually join her in motherhood.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Betty Shabazz in “Godfather of Harlem”

Fiona

Fiona is another friend of Ella’s who is Shauna’s partner.

Joseph

Joseph is Ella’s biological father, who is a widow, thanks to Ella’s mom dying around the age she is now. Because of her death, he never had additional children, and thus, he often pressures, either directly or passive-aggressively, Ella to have kids to continue the family line. Usually, with a comment mentioning how they survived the Holocaust, yet will end because of Ella being selfish.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Murray Markowitz in “Hunters,” Artie Nielsen in the “Warehouse 13” franchise, and Louis B. Mayer in “The Last Tycoon.”

Dr. Elizabeth Simmons

Dr. Simmons is a doctor of obstetrics and gynecologist with a cognitive focus who assists women who want to desire to have a child. Mainly through a clinical trial she does to help “fix” women through therapy, medication, and an implant.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Jan Levinson-Gould in “The Office,” Jacqueline Carlyle in “The Bold Type,” and Tammy Cashman in “Transparent.”

Dr. Webber

Dr. Webber is a colleague of Aidan who helps Ella learn about the state of her womb and begin the process of wanting to have a child because she wants to and not because of society.

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Notable Performances or Moments

A Different Take On The Holocaust

When there are conversations about the Holocaust, it is about the statistics, World War II, Hitler, and the Nazis. What isn’t covered, as Ella points out, is that this genocide is brought up more than others, not just because of Jewish people, but their place in society. Though not explicitly compared, if you compare the genocide of indigenous people within any country to the genocide of the Jewish people, the key difference is their socio-economic status.

The people killed in the Holocaust were educated, could be considered middle class, and even wealthy, yet six million of them. They weren’t people without status in society, political offices, or without respected generational wealth. Yet they were slaughtered with the same disdain and indifference as the many cultures that Europeans have killed, and didn’t allow to become a tragedy but instead just a footnote or statistic.

The Pressure That Comes With Assumingly Having The Ability To Have A Baby

If you have ever wondered why many men in government and outside of government pressure and try to force women to have kids, “Clock” shows you why. From the minor things, like overpopulation and the state of the world, to the idea of a needle injected in your spine or pushing something the size of a small watermelon out of you? Never mind the almost parasite vibes of watching it, in your stomach and seeing hands or feet press against your skin, the idea of having a child is horrifying.

Yet, then there is the pressure of continuing the human race, a family’s bloodline, or passing down symbols and stories of a culture, for if you don’t, the line ends with you. It seems like a lot with no real guaranteed benefits. For you often will be damned if you don’t, and if you do, so comes a lot of issues which go beyond being puked on, urinated on, defecated on, and that’s just within the first few weeks or months by the kid.

On The Fence

Feeling It Could Have Went Further

Dr. Elizabeth Simmons (Melora Hardin)
“Dr. Elizabeth Simmons (Melora Hardin),” Clock, directed by Alexis Jacknow, 2023, (Hulu)

While there are some horrific images, even jump scares, thanks to this giant woman (Rosa Gilmore), who seems to represent Ella’s grandmother who survived the Holocaust, there is a feeling things could have gone further. However, it is hard to say in what direction. “Clock” seems to explore psychological horror to gain an audience, but it doesn’t really go deep into how disturbing yet normalized childbirth is. Even when you consider Ella’s disturbing hallucinations in Dr. Simmons’ clinic.

Yet, as a drama, between the pressure by friends, or the guilt by Joseph, while you can see Ella unhappy and worn down by the comments, it leaves out Aidan’s role quite a bit. Never mind, when Ella is explaining why she has put it off or decided against it, there isn’t enough room for Agron to convince whoever she is in a scene with. It isn’t hard for her to convince the viewer, but it seems she is constantly talking to a wall and not getting someone to really play off of as she may need or deserve.

Thus giving you the feeling this is less about her character having conversations with another, as it is a broken-up series of vignettes.

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Ella (Dianna Agron) at a friend's party
Clock (2023) – Movie Review
Overall
“Clock” explains why many women don’t want kids and the feelings that can come when constantly pressured to the point of wanting to relent just to fit in, seem normal, or shut everyone up.
Highlights
A Different Take On The Holocaust
The Pressure That Comes With Assumingly Having The Ability To Have A Baby
Disputable
Feeling It Could Have Went Further
83

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