A twenty-something comedienne's unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront the realities of independent womanhood for the first time.A twenty-something comedienne's unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront the realities of independent womanhood for the first time.A twenty-something comedienne's unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront the realities of independent womanhood for the first time.
This is where we find Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) in OBVIOUS CHILD. Fidgeting at the gates of the dirty thirties, Donna's in an emotional crisis right now. Her boyfriend just dumped her for her girlfriend (whom he had been seeing behind her back). The bookstore where she works is closing down, placing her in the unemployment line and she's worried about not being able to afford her rent. In addition, the relationship with her mother Nancy (Polly Draper) is still complex but luckily, Donna's relationship with her dad Jacob (Richard Kind) keeps her balanced. And last but not least, Donna's recently discovered she's pregnant. With Max's (played by Jake Lacy) baby. He's the one-night-stand 'piss-farter' she met at the bar where she's performs her stand-up comedy routine.
As a way to figuring out everything in her life right now, Donna talks about these relationship issues with her friends both on and off stage. And like any irrational, insecure woman who has recently been dumped, Donna also tortures herself by drunk dialing her ex-boyfriend and 'stalking' his house to see if he'll exit with her ex-friend. 'Just one more sip' she says after each sip of her coffee until Ryan (Paul Briganti) emerges with said friend in tow.
Donna finally turns the maturity corner after inadvertently meeting preppy nice guy Max following her disastrous stage performance, and subsequently falls pregnant from their one- night-stand. The surprise pregnancy steers the film in a more controversial direction when, after carefully considering her circumstances, responsibility and readiness to be a mother, Donna decides to abort her pregnancy.
Don't think this subversive rom-com makes a mockery of abortion. It doesn't. In fact, first feature director Gillian Robespierre handles the abortion plot point with finesse: placing it in a relatable context that seriously considers the consequences of the protagonist's actions whilst weighing it against the reality of responsibility and unstable circumstances. And despite the stigma surrounding such a decision, Slate's character remains resolute in her choice throughout the rest of the film. It strengthens the ideal that it is okay to make such difficult decisions particularly when it's in one's own best interest.
It's not often one has an opportunity to watch a film about abortion that is so refreshingly candid, yet comically relatable, that you can't help but praise Robespierre and her perspective of a late 20s woman whose life so far, isn't turning out quite the way she thought it would. Literally. And like Donna's temporary spiral out of control in OBVIOUS CHILD, that's okay because eventually, you'll manage to steer yourself back on track.
In a nutshell, OBVIOUS CHILD is a sharply written comedy that unashamedly addresses real life issues with a walk down memory lane moment in there for everyone.
- Jan 24, 2015