I have always thought that adulthood would be about meeting someone, getting married, and eventually having some kids. It is the story that you hear time and time again throughout your life from countless other adults. But, they fail to mention the downsides that come with this dream scenario. What if it doesn’t work out? What if it doesn’t pay off? What if all that was done in vain? These are all the questions answered in Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life, a film containing a series of unfortunate events, of heartbreaking stories, of floating hope.
My first encounter with Jenkins was around 2013 or so. I used to have a habit of watching every film nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars. At that time, I wanted to go through all the films in the 2000s. When I got to the 2007 Best Actress lineup, I was stuck on Laura Linney in The Savages, and really the entire film itself. Dysfunctional family is a recurring theme in Jenkins’ work. She constructs a traditional family (husband and wife in Private Life, brother and sister in The Savages) then dissects each member of that family into a story with love and humor in the most unravelling manner.