Lucy has a perfect, privileged life. She is rising in a Manhattan advertising startup, husband Adrian is a successful surgeon, and they have friends, connections and a sweet condo.
What they don’t have is a baby. But that will be taken care of by Adrian’s friend and former mentor, Dr. Hindle, the best and most exclusive fertility doctor in New York — though there seems to be something weird about the good doctor.
“False Positive” is a deliciously creepy, slow-burn thriller that debuts on Hulu on Friday, June 25, a week after its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Though not perfect — logic is stillborn at some point in the second half — it has two appealing elements: Ilana Glazer, the film’s co-writer and star, and Pierce Brosnan, who is perfecting a suave sort of sliminess as of late.
Glazer is a stand-up comic who co-created and starred in the Comedy Central series “Broad City,” but plays it mostly straight as Lucy, a woman who thinks she’s independent but gradually becomes aware that her world is dominated by men.
Most decisions between Lucy and Justin Theroux’s Adrian seem to be made by her, but in reality, that’s only after Adrian signs off. At work, she is the only female in her small ad company chasing a big account, but even though the pitch for the account is based mainly on her ideas, she’s in charge of taking everyone’s lunch order.
Then a new man enters her life, and he seems like a godsend. Dr. Hindle (Brosnan), who runs the Hindle Women’s Clinic with a pair of Stepford Wife-like nurses (Gretchen Mol and Sabina Gadecki), has all the answers to her fertility problems. And they work. Boy, do they work. Lucy finds she is expecting triplets, two boys and a girl. But one fetus, the girl, is weak, and Lucy and Adrian have to make a choice about selective reduction: save the two males or save the female.
As the pregnancy advances, Lucy has hallucinations and begins to suspect there is more to Dr. Hindle than is listed on his resume. Is she part of a weird experiment by Hindle — and is her husband involved?
She secretly turns to two women for advice: her pregnant friend (Sophia Bush) and a nontraditional midwife (Zainab Jah).
Co-writer director John Lee carefully guides the increasingly strange film, and just when it seems “False Positive” is going off the rails, he keeps it on track. He smartly provides the audience with lots of close-ups of Glazer, who guides us into her world and point of view with an appealing performance.
Their ace in the hole is Brosnan, the onetime James Bond who suddenly, with this latest, layered turn as a first-class creep, should be in consideration as a Bond villain.
While “False Positive” has lapses in logic and could have a quicker pace in the second half, it fully embraces a bizarre sense of the macabre that is irresistible.
“False Positive”: Thriller. Starring Ilana Glazer, Justin Theroux and Pierce Brosnan. Directed by John Lee. (R. 92 minutes.). Premieres on Hulu on Friday, June 25.