Film Review: ANYA

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We don’t see the titular character in Jacob Akira Okada and Carylanna Taylor’s narrative debut until the final moments of the film. ANYA is not actually about the little girl in question, but rather how she came to be, despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Anya’s father, Marco, (Gil Perez-Abraham, TVs Pose) is part of a clandestine race hailing from an island in the Caribbean called Narval. He was actually born in Queens, New York and raised in a tight knit community who blended in with their Latinx neighbors so as to go unnoticed for generations. What follows is sci-fi verité, a genetic mystery, an ethical think-piece and a romantic drama all rolled into one enthralling film.

Libby (Ali Ahn, TVs Supernatural) meets Marco in Times Square the same day that his mother kicks him out of his community for refusing to adhere to tradition. Marco doesn’t tell Libby much about his past, but they are both lonely souls who are drawn to each other and their relationship progresses quickly. Marco’s family always believed in a curse, claiming that anyone who attempted to start a family with an outsider would be rendered infertile. But Libby doesn’t learn about this until after she and Marco have experienced several devastating miscarriages. Libby is a journalist with a scientific mind, and she believes Marco is an orphan, so her first instinct is to enlist her ex-boyfriend, a research scientist named Seymour (Motell Gyn Foster, Marriage Story), for answers. Seymour is a brilliant charmer who specializes in Neanderthal research – a subject that is coincidentally relevant to solving their fertility issues…

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