Film Review: A Deal with the Universe

For most couples, having a child (or children) is one of the most important driving forces in their relationship. Whilst many pregnancies are unplanned, some people struggle for years to have offspring, whilst it’s just not possible for others. They often become increasingly desperate in the lengths they will go to in order to give birth, which can put an incredible strain on a marriage or partnership. At the heart of Jason Barker’s first documentary, A Deal with the Universe, is the love between two people who desperately want a third to share their lives with.

Over a fifteen-year period, Jason filmed his life together with his partner. The constant is their fight to have a child, but at the same time we see Tracey’s fight against cancer and his struggles with gender identity. In doing so, we’re given an extraordinarily intimate glimpse into their lives, their love and the challenges they have to overcome. We, the audience, are given the opportunity to be a part of their lives. Through the highs and lows. Their relationship is laid bare before us.

Using purely home video footage, A Deal with the Universe is a beautiful documentary about gender identity and the long road to parenthood. Both Jason and Tracey come across as wonderful loving people and at times it’s almost heartbreaking to watch. This naturalistic approach pays dividends. The twin focus allows us to empathise with their predicament and gives an amazing insight in what it must be like to be in their position. A Deal with the Universe is a profoundly moving and inherently charming documentary.

A Deal with the Universe is out in cinemas and on VoD from 12 April.

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