natural selection

Natural Selection

Rachael Harris, Matt O’Leary

Directed by Robbie Pickering
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
March 15, 2012

First-time feature director Robbie Pickering shows promise to spare in Natural Selection, a small gem of an indie movie whose rewards far exceed its bare-bones budget. The marvelous Rachael Harris stars as Linda White, a real-life Texas housewife, minus the makeup, teased hair and spike heels. For 20 years, Linda has been a good Christian wife to Abe (the excellent John Diehl), a hypocrite who hasn't had sex with her since she was diagnosed as infertile—don't you know it's a sin to spill your seed when impregnation is impossible?  Imagine Linda's shock when not-so-honest Abe has a stroke while jerking off at a Houston  sperm bank he's been sneaking off to. With death knocking on Abe's door, good wife Linda decides to track down one of the results of Abe's mammoth wanking sessions. He's Raymond (Matt O'Leary), an escaped con Linda finds in Tampa, Florida, where he avidly avoids the cops and soap and water. The road trip, with Linda driving Raymond back to Texas to visit daddy Abe, is the heart of the movie. Credit Pickering's deft script for avoiding the usual clichéd speed bumps, though sex and lies are on the menu. No fair giving away the film's secrets, which involve  Linda's bitchy sister Sheila (Gayland Williams) and Peter (Jon Gries), Sheila's minister husband with a long-standing crush on Linda. What matters is the magical alchemy between Linda and Raymond. Or should I say the connection between Harris and O'Leary, two actors ready for every curve ball the script throws them. The scene in which they break into a diner and talk their hearts out is outstanding and a calling card to mark Pickering's potential as a filmmaker. O'Leary is ultra-fine as a shut-off dude gradually opening up to feeling. But even Darwin would cede Natural Selection to Harris. Best known as Ed Helms' nagging fiancée in The Hangover, Harris is just perfect without ever looking down on Linda's faith in God and herself. Her performance earns a special kind of glory.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    The Pack | 2006

    Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

    More Song Stories entries »