Unexpected Blu-ray Review

Cobie Smulders stars in this light family drama about an unplanned pregnancy

Unexpected is a story about a young teacher coping with an unexpected pregnancy while she mentors a smart student dealing with her own pregnancy. Cobie Smulders stars as the pregnant teacher in this upbeat, positive family film about the realities of motherhood. Director Kris Swanberg’s film is a gentle exploration of two women at different places in life learning from each other as they develop a close friendship.

Sam (Cobie Smulders) is an inner-city Chicago high school teacher at a school that is closing down. The 30-year-old teacher’s life changes when she learns she’s pregnant by her boyfriend, John. The news pushes the couple’s life plans greatly ahead of schedule, making Sam conflicted about her feelings for this pregnancy and even John as a partner.

Sam soon strikes a close friendship with one of her students also going through an unplanned pregnancy. Jasmine (Gail Bean) is a talented, friendly high school senior that made a mistake with her boyfriend and is now pregnant. Both women now have to weigh the demands of motherhood with their lofty career ambitions. Jasmine has top grades and wants to attend a good college. Sam yearns to have a career of her own at a local museum against John’s wishes.

A movie like Unexpected handles the realistic pressures faced by both women as they cope with being independent, career-minded women. The situations are not completely identical. Jasmine had a promising future ahead of her as a smart high school senior hoping to attend Illinois University. Raised by her poor grandmother, a baby would seem like a major obstacle for Jasmine’s chances at success. Sam is even more lost at times about her future than Jasmine. A baby was not on Sam’s radar before the pregnancy and it hurts her chances at getting a dream job at the local museum. There is also the push and pull with John. He wants Sam to stay home and raise the baby for a while before jumping back into work.

Unexpected certainly doesn’t try to challenge its audience…

Unexpected is well-made family fare that will hit a chord with expecting mothers and first-time parents. The friendly chemistry between Jasmine and Sam works within the context of Unexpected but makes it too easy on some level. The teen Jasmine does seem too good to be true. She is the perfect teen character you often find in dramas, making her unwanted teen pregnancy seem highly unlikely for such a steady, smart teen. Credit goes to Gail Bean’s portrayal for making Jasmine wise beyond her years. Cobie Smulders proves she can handle dramatic roles with a steady performance.

The light drama will be probably be too sweet for some and not hard enough for others. Unexpected certainly doesn’t try to challenge its audience with provocative material and stays far away from emotionally darker territory. One has to empathize with these two characters’ plights as a result of their unplanned pregnancies. That makes Unexpected clearly aimed at younger women dealing with similar issues as they chose between motherhood and their careers.

Movie★★★☆☆

Unexpected Blu-ray screen shot 4

The indie feature from Alchemy looks great on Blu-ray. The 1080p video is presented at a crisp, clean 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio. Unexpected receives a capable AVC video encode on a BD-25 in a completely transparent presentation. It averages 24.97 Mbps without compression artifacts.

The video quality is sharp with a consistent contrast. Struck from a Digital Intermediate, it receives a pristine digital transfer with a fairly neutral color palette. Close-ups exhibit a decent range of high-frequency detail that hasn’t been filtered. The drama doesn’t have overly saturated primary colors but includes a well-balanced palette with solid black levels. Flesh-tones retain a healthy, natural appearance.

It is amazing how clean new indie films look these days. Gone are the days of sketchy picture quality from low-end film cameras. Unexpected falls short of reference quality but everyone will be quite pleased with its pure video.

Video★★★★☆

The film is a dialogue-driven drama about a high school teacher, so the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack is a pretty ordinary affair. The excellent instrumental score by Keegan DeWitt includes some minor ambient presence but there aren’t many directional cues, if any. The sound quality is crystal-clear and has surprisingly strong Foley work from Skywalker Sound.

A superfluous 2.0 Dolby Digital track at 192 kbps is included. Optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included as options in a white font.

Audio ★★★☆☆

There are no bonus features other than some trailers for the film and other Alchemy products.

Unexpected Trailer (02:28 in HD)

Trailers (09:22 in SD) – These trailers also precede the main menu: Accidental Love, Welcome To Me, Fading Gigolo, Elsa & Fred

Extras ☆☆☆☆☆

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.