“Obvious Child” is a movie about choices. There are those out there who will not like this picture because they prefer that some people, specifically women, would not have these choices available to them. However, before you get bummed out, you should know that this is quite an enjoyable and funny movie. It finally opens today, June 26 in South Florida.
Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) is a rising New York comedian. Things in her life are going pretty well as far as she is concerned. She gets good laughs during her standup, she has a boyfriend whom she really likes and she enjoys her job. Then she loses said boyfriend and the job. On a night out, she meets Max (Jake Lacy). In a true “one thing led to another” fashion, she finds herself pregnant. Knowing she is not ready for that, she chooses to get an abortion. However, must find a way to her mother and Max know.
Jenny Slate is best known for her one season on “Saturday Night Live.” That will not be the case after “Obvious Child” because she turns in one hell of a calling card performance. Her character can be funny, witty and cute in one moment and then vulnerable, serious and crying the next. It is a great role for any actor as she goes through an emotional gambit throughout the film and completely nails it. She should not be surprised if offers to do more movies come pouring in from romantic comedies to serious dramas. We will see that Jenny Slate can do it all.
Gillian Robespierre, the writer and director of “Obvious Child” also deserves a lot of recognition for the movie she has created. This movie started out as a short film that played well in the film festival circuit and generated enough interest that she was able to flesh it out to a full length film. Her writing shows a penchant for turning out great dialogue and creating characters who audiences will enjoy meeting. Her directing shows that she has a talent for delivering good laughs (not something so easy to do) and putting together a cohesive storyline. This is something that many first time directors cannot do at all. She, too, could have a great career ahead of her.
The movie’s subject matter should spark some debate. In fact, at an advance screening in Boca Raton earlier this week, Planned Parenthood was there and had a discussion about it. “Juno” was a movie that many Pro-Life people probably got behind, but Pro-Choice people liked it too because that movie was also about choice. Remember, being Pro-Choice is not about being pro abortion, it is just about being in favor of women having the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies. A sad fact is that today there are many states, despite the existence of Roe v. Wade, where those choices do not exist anymore. It is scary to know that there are politicians out there who want to turn back the clock on women to a time that was actually quite dangerous. “Obvious Child” brings up this subject. It is too much to hope for that the movie will spark enough debate to ease these laws in those states, but just maybe, it can get the ball rolling again in talking about it.
Even if you are a Pro-Choice person, be warned that “Obvious Child” may not be your cup of tea. The language does get quite vulgar many times. For an independent movie, you may feel that Donna does not go through a tremendous character arc, but that’s the beauty of an indie. She doesn’t have to in order for the movie to be successful. Many of us may go through a major event in life and the effect is not always life altering. The movie is not perfect, but should be enjoyed whether you agree with the subject matter or not. It is rated R for language and sexual content.