Shiva Baby Cover

Shiva Baby (2020) – Movie Review and Analysis

Summary of the post

The following summary includes the list of the topics we will cover in our post related to “Shiva Baby.” It’s not your typical comedy, but much more.

Shiva Baby – Introduction

Let us introduce you to this “comedy” with a dark and awkward taste, because “Shiva Baby” is a movie which deserves a proper review.

It’s not your typical comedy, and we are glad of it because this experiment delivers its purpose. Anxiety, panic attacks, a perfect match of soundtracks and scenes, the awkward moments to meet people you barely know and engage in embarrassing conversations are some ingredients that will let you laugh and perceive that claustrophobic mood our protagonist Danielle will definitely experience

Shiva Baby – The Story

Danielle is a young Jewish lady who is in the middle of an existential crisis. The desire to make easy money and feel appreciated moves her to work for “sugar daddy.” Her student’s life is not taking off, and even her aspirations are more ideological than concrete projects.

Let’s add her weird parents, her ex-lover, Maya, from an “experimental lesbian phase,” and Danielle’s life looks step by step more intriguing and complicated. Finally, Danielle will find herself at a Jewish funeral, where she will meet all of her possible nightmares in a crescendo of hilarious and dark moments.

She will need to face all of this, confront herself and the ruthless society with the ambitious goal of surviving the funeral and escape the challenging situations around her.

  • What will she discover at the ceremony?
  • Why is Danielle’s life not so different from Maya’s?
  • And what will we learn from this story?

Shiva Baby – Review, Analysis and Insights

(This section contains SPOILERS, we suggested to watch the movie first and then enjoy it.)

The movie, released in 2020, lasts for just 1 hour and 17 minutes but, as mentioned above, it’s intense and creepy-funny.

We want to remind you that Shiva Baby won five Awards and seventeen nominations. There is talent and creativity in this film, and we want to guide you through some insights. 

1. The engaging climax of the script

A great comedy needs to fit all the pieces of a puzzle together. Shiva Baby’s script is original and well developed. The details are curated, and nothing seems to be left to chance.

One truth at a time for infinite pain

What makes this comedy engaging is how the protagonists and we discover hidden truths. It’s a progressive climax sustained by the music and the talent of the actors and director.

Danielle finds out about Max’s baby

Her job and the bracelet

The first “words” are Danielle’s moans of pleasure, followed by a bit of “disappointment”, which immediately make us uncomfortable. Next, we discover her “job”, her sugar daddy, Max, and a bracelet that will be the protagonist of embarrassing moments at the funeral. Naturally, the expensive jewellery will get her mum’s attention and, a bit later, the one of Max’s wife, Kim.

Unreliable parents and lack of model roles

When we first met Danielle’s parents, we immediately noticed how far from Danielle’s life they are. Her mum is insecure about her looks and can’t tolerate anything her husband does. Danielle’s father can feel it, so he tries to focus his attention on dessert and small talk.

None of them knows anything about Danielle’s life and aspirations. It’s a failure that lets fade out the relationship between them and their daughter.

Maya and Danielle
Maya and Danielle

Maya’s mum behaves differently but with the same results. She wants Maya to appear perfect in front of society. And our feeling is more to avoid gossips against herself than for Maya.

On the other hand, Kim and Max are already failures despite the young age of the baby. We noticed how parenting requires more dedication and collaboration to be good parents and inspire our children.

The “horrifying discover”

When Danielle arrives at the funeral, we feel how she is not comfortable with the people. Everyone starts to ask the same questions for answers which are not clear, even for Danielle. Later she met Maya, her experimental girl. Still, we noticed how their relationship is more than just sex.

When the conversations start to be stressful, Danielle noticed that Max is among the people and, as if it wasn’t enough, that their parents know him and ask him to fund a job for her daughter.

Max behaviour is cruel, and he starts to play with Danielle, moving some suspects in Debbie and Joel. And after a couple of minutes, Debbie warned Danielle not to flirt with him because he is married. Danielle’s face is surprised, but the climax still didn’t reach its peak.

So, while gasping to find a way to go out from the ceremony, she found out that Max is married and a father and that his baby and wife are coming to the ceremony. So much pain and surprises in just a few minutes.

Kim and Danielle’s meeting

The meeting between the gorgeous Kim and Danielle is creepy-funny. They are both not comfortable for different reasons but exact causes. Kim offers a job to Danielle, and that would be so funny to watch.

Danielle meets Kim in Shiva Baby
Kim found Danielle’s phone. The moment of the truth.

And then she discovers about the bracelet, and her suspects begin to be a certainty.
They play dirty with each other for the whole ceremony until Kim gives Danielle’s phone to her and then her baby to check her skills as a babysitter. Then, Kim brings Danielle to the border of her limits till Danielle breakdown. Kim found out about Max and Danielle and plans her revenge.

The awful feeling to don’t feel appreciated

Danielle feels to don’t be appreciated by her mum and her dad. So probably, it’s for this reason that she looks for a sugar daddy as compensation for this missing part of her life. At least, this is how Danielle describes it to Maya.

The final creation of Danielle’s father

When everyone is confused about their problem, there is still space for the last horror moment. Joel, Danielle’s father, collect all the broken pieces on the scene and put all of them in his car, offering a not wanted ride to their home.

He is so happy, but he didn’t understand, again, the situation and Danielle’s issues for another time. Therefore, Maya, Kim and Max are all together on the weirdest trip ever.

There is no room for words, just a recovered relationship between Maya and Danielle, despite their parent’s warning. And the scream of the baby, who yells instead of all the actors on that car.

Joel'idea in Shiva Baby
Joel’s idea, the last piece of the horryfing day

2. The funeral as a metaphor for hypocrisy

What’s the moment to laugh if not a funeral? That’s precisely the spirit of the movie: weird and dark. The ceremony becomes the moment to collect the excessive gossips of the hypocritical community.

No one seems really care about the person who died. Funnily, we discover that Danielle doesn’t even know who they are commemorating. People are exclusively interested in showing up and be ready to judge anything someone else does or did.

At a certain point, we felt confused if to be sorry for Danielle’s misadventures or about the hypocrisy of all the other characters. It’s a genial way to deliver this feeling to us. The moment when we are supposed to pray and get closer to God, the Cosmos, The Universe, however you prefer to call it, becomes the spot when everyone and everything focuses on the futility of our worldly life. We loved the idea and how the cast delivered it.

3. Good or bad girls, happiness is not for everyone

Danielle and Maya are so different but then so similar. Maya is the perfect girl with successful results in her studies and a lawyer career almost ready. Danielle, on the other hand, is a caravan of confused ideas and mixed feelings.

She doesn’t have a proper vision of her future, looks for men’s appreciation to enrich her ego and wallet, and seems lost in her journey.

The film shows the two opposite styles of parent’s roles. Maya’s mum is careful, maybe too much, becoming oppressive in how she raises her daughter. She tries to control everything about Maya and wants the perfect girl to show up to her friends and society.

The awkward family
The awkward family time

Danielle’s parents, instead, are the antithesis. They look confused with their lives, insecure like Danielle’s mum, far away from her daughter’s world. Although they love her and try to find the best opportunities, they don’t know anything about Danielle.

But, if we look at Danielle and Maya, they are both unhappy, confused and still in their “experimental phase”, which seems to be more than that.

When parents learn how to listen and communicate with their children, they may have a happy family and good models’ roles to offer to them.

4. The leitmotif of baby’s crying

Who will bring a baby to a funeral? It seems a gorgeous businesswoman who needs to take care of her newborn and…husband.

To us, it seems another metaphor. Kim brings into the scene the souls of our characters. The baby’s screams, crying, and restlessness appears like the hidden manifestation of what’s inside our actors.

Everyone would like to yells, sometimes us too, but they can’t. It’s a constant presence during the final’s climax, annoying as the lies we discover.

  • So what’s better than the ingenuousness of a baby?
  • Who can complain about “unmotivated” crying?
  • Genial.

Pros and cons plus rating


The way how the movie describes the events and how the camera moves among the characters is genial. We can feel the anxiety going on, and we feel the need for a break for us.

The climax reaches its peak leaving us disgusted by the horrible show and the issues of all the characters. What wants to be a perfect society reveals itself as a collection of trauma and dissatisfactions. The actors are superb, the direction and the music too.

The moment of the truth
The moment of the truth


It isn’t easy to find cons to this film. Perhaps the script could be more engaging and better explain all the trauma and failures we collected in this post.
Overall it’s an exciting movie well-crafted.

Our final rating is


ActorsRachel Sennott, Danny Deferrari, Fred Melamed, Dianna Agron.
DirectorEmma Seligman
Duration1 hour and 17 minutes
RatingIMDB: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 3.7/5
Spot a Movie: 8.5/10
CountryAmerica and Canada
ProviderHBO Max (USA) or check in your country.
NotesIt won 5 Awards and 17 Nominations

Where you can watch Shiva Baby

The movie is currently available on HBO Max, but check this link to see where you can watch it in your country.

Follow Spot a Movie to spot the best movies with us

FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterestRedditInstagramFlipboard, Tumblr

Similar Posts