Emma Seligman’s ‘Shiva Baby’ and the Art of Comic Discomfort

Of the many offspring of The Graduate, few films approach the original’s perfect blend of eager but anxious anticipation regarding the future and post-adolescent tendencies toward solipsistic self-pity. Or, for that matter, the quality of the comedy and the level of craftsmanship. Mike Nichols directed the 1967 masterpiece with such skill that filmmakers still drink from the well more than half a century on, seeking to replicate some of that bottled lightning. Shiva Baby, Emma Seligman’s feature debut as writer and director, doesn’t have a budget equivalent to The Graduate, and nearly all of it takes place in a single location and close to real time, but the new filmmaker works wonders within these limitations. As spiritual heir t
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