Crime thrillers centered on scams are hard to watch, especially if the con is complicated and many people are affected by it. But The Pregnancy Scheme comes nowhere close to the above-mentioned description. Directed by Ann Marie Fleming and written by Ansley Gordon, The Pregnancy Scheme is about a scam being carried out by two women who are in desperate need of money, until one of them finally develops a conscience.
Julia’s New Life As A Single Woman
The Pregnancy Scheme begins with an aftermath of a chase where a woman is pleading with another person to consider her unborn child as well. This sets up the tone of the movie, which will have a pregnant woman facing issues and fighting hard to make sure her nine months go smoothly. Julia just broke up with her long-term boyfriend, Drew, and she is trying to make her professional life her priority as she lost her job as well. In her bid to start her website, Julia realizes she is not financially stable enough to begin the business.
Julia comes across as a financially and emotionally independent woman who would want to rely on herself for everything, and that’s why the breakup didn’t have as much impact on her as the loss of her job did. Her best friend Celia introduces her to Alana, another friend of hers who went through a divorce. She introduces the two of them, hoping their breakups would help them bond. Celia is a good friend to Alana and Julia by distracting them from work and allowing the women to form a friendship. This comes across as a genuine approach any friend would take for others, and nothing would cheer a bunch of girls more than each other’s company.
Julia learns that she is three months pregnant, but she has no idea how she will be able to financially stabilize herself. Julia will have to come up with a solid plan so that her medical expenses are covered. She puts on a brave face in front of Alana and Celia, but internally, her fears of not landing a secure job are increasing. She intends to keep the child and has informed Drew about it as well, who promises to help her during and after the birth of their child. Julia’s is the case of every single mother who goes through waves of doubt about whether she will be good enough for the child she is about to bring into the world. It will be a constant battle for nine months, with hormones going up and down. Julia is allowed to feel tense, which will hopefully pave the way for what she wants to be.
Alana, though, senses Julia’s desperation for money and offers for her to be a part of the scheme she has in mind, where her pregnancy would come in handy. Julia would only have to hand out the positive pregnancy tests to Alana, and she would sell them to her clients who wanted to change the status of their relationship. Julia is not sure if she should get into something that is not strictly illegal but is not legal either. But she also knows her medical bills will only rise from here on, which makes her consider indulging in this scam as a harmless way to earn some extra cash. Only time will tell if Julia’s moral compass will allow her to do this work.
Why Was Julia Attacked By Alana?
Julia agrees to do the job after a lot of thinking and some assertiveness from Alana, only because she thinks this would financially support her for some time until she gets a steady job as a graphic designer. Alana puts across the proposal that would empower their female clients to take control of their lives, but this test is nothing but a manipulation tactic to force men to do as the women please. Julia initially was not in favor of such an arm-twisting tactic, but she understood she and Alana wouldn’t be accountable for anything that went wrong between the man and the woman. What an educated Julia did not realize was that this would indeed catch up to her if the clients were sued by their partners, and this scam would eventually crumble like a house of cards. Here, Julia cannot be considered a bad person because she did not come up with a plan to scam a certain gender for their benefit. It was Alana who would be considered the culprit, for she created a market for it, which led to the demand.
Julia was uncomfortable with receiving 70% of the total amount for her contribution because there was a growing guilt in her for being an accomplice in deceit. She takes the money the first few times, but slowly she starts avoiding Alana due to the overpowering guilt and the money she is still willing to offer. Alana starts showing up at random places to scare Julia, and this begins her game of bullying and threatening her partner into submission to her plans. Julia’s conscience does not allow her to get into this game; she would rather earn money through her sheer hard work, but Alana is unable to understand that.
Julia also signs up for the free birthing class to save some money, where she meets Bridget, another single mother with whom she becomes friends. Julia ends up talking about Alana’s threats to her because she feels it’s about time she talked about her issues and the kind of ruse she got involved in because of Alana. Julia feels relieved to let someone know about her problems because she feels Alana is stalking her. She lives alone, so sharing her worries with someone helps her feel heard, and the fact that there would be someone understanding why she got involved in a scam. It seems like Julia tried to play the victim card here, which is wrong because she willingly joined Alana’s elaborate hustle. Even if the woman was forcing her, Julia could have walked out without any guilt instead of living with it.
Out of sheer worry, she also ends up revealing her secret work to Drew and Celia. She does this to form a blanket of security around her, keeping in mind her pregnancy and hormones. She does not want to be manipulated again into this hoodwink. Celia, in an attempt to protect Julia from Alana, ends up getting violently attacked by an unknown person, but it is easy to assume that it was Alana who did it to prove her power over the situation.
Julie learns that Bridget’s actual name is Maureen. She is a reporter, not a pregnant woman, who got into this class to do a major story for her newspaper on pregnancy schemes and how desperate women get trapped in them. As per her research, Alana’s name has come up several times, which alarms Julia. It is not clear who let Julia know about Bridget’s real identity. She does not want the news to be published because her name coming up in the scam would lead to career suicide. Her concern makes sense because she knows that if her name is revealed, nobody will understand the circumstances under which she agreed to be a part of it. People and the authorities would hound her for the crime and shame her.
Maureen promises not to reveal her name and is willing to let Julia read the entire report on this subject. Maureen’s work also comes across as genuine because she probably wants to help women get out of these schemes and empower them in some other way. She only wants to bring down the perpetrator, Alana Temper. Julia agrees to read the story because she wants to understand the depth of this elaborate, dishonest venture.
Back at home, she is attacked by one of Alana’s clients’ targets, who was blackmailed and manipulated into believing the child was his by a woman he got intimate with. This led to his life falling apart in the form of losing his wife, kids , and his job. He got Alana’s name from the woman blackmailing him, and he got to Julia by constantly stalking Alana’s movements. Julia was afraid of one of the targeted victims coming after them for vengeance, and that’s exactly what happened. Julia feels sorry because she did not sign up for such retaliation, and that’s why she asks the man to wait for her at the police station. She would be surrendering herself just so that the man gets his life back on track. Julia also does this because she is done with Alana’s threats and overpowering nature.
Alana ends up attacking the man and Julia because she still cannot come to terms with the fact that Julia is done being a part of her business. The woman chases her down, thus making the audience understand why the person was running after a pregnant Julia in the middle of the night. Julia is dragged back to her home and is almost killed by Alana because she goes into a rant about how her husband scammed her and left her penniless. This proves the pain Alana felt when Julia decided to leave their business midway. She felt betrayed because she could not lose all her money again, and threatening Julia was the only way to keep her around. This probably implies that Alana might have suffered a mental breakdown just after a divorce, and the need to get money as soon as possible made her look for easy schemes, not realizing that law enforcement would catch up to her. As an audience, we wish there was more screen time dedicated to understanding Alana’s past and her need to rely on rackets to sustain herself. Julia injures Alana in self-defense because she feels it is high time Alana pays for her crimes and lets Julia off the hook. Julia does the right thing because, thanks to Maureen, she sends the police team to get hold of this troubled woman.
‘The Pregnancy Scheme’ Ending Explained
The film ends with a scene from a few months later after the ordeal, where Julia is now a mother to a baby girl, whom she is co-parenting with her ex-boyfriend Drew. It is assumed her own graphic design business also took off, and she is happy and sorted with her life so far. Maureen is still friends with Julia and a fully recovered Celia, and she is receiving an award for her story on the pregnancy scheme, and rightly so. The ending shot of The Pregnancy Scheme shows Alana Powell being found guilty by the court for her role in planning and structuring the scheme and luring helpless women into it.
What throws the audience off is the full name of Alana. Throughout The Pregnancy Scheme, her name is mentioned as Alana Temper, but in the end, the newspaper shot mentions Alana Powell. Maybe Alana Temper was the pseudonym she used to carry out the entire scam because no criminal would ever use their actual legal name. Overall, The Pregnancy Scheme is not a must-watch because the movie did not deal with the seriousness of the subject matter.