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Private Life

The sensitive, funny drama about infertility and marriage is in theaters and on Netflix.

Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Metacritic score: 82

Eleven years after the debut of her highly acclaimed feature The Savages, Tamara Jenkins returns with the Netflix film Private Life, a funny, moving film about a couple’s maddening and harrowing struggle with infertility.

With an outstanding original screenplay by Jenkins, it features strong, funny, and heartbreaking performances from Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti, alongside a stellar supporting cast. It achieves a tricky tonal balance by irreverently locating the humor in the suffering — injecting hormones into buttocks, having to deliver semen samples for IVF, readying the house for a home visit from an adoption agency — without making light of those experiences. The result is an accessible and complex portrait of two people whose ardent shared desire for a child leads them in some unconventional directions, and it’s a joy to watch, whether or not you can relate to their experience.