Obvious Child: Rated “R” (93 minutes)
Starring: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann , Richard Kind, Polly Draper
Directed by: Gillian Robespierre
The very winning — and at times — heart-warming Indie film, Obvious Child follows the trials and tribulations of an aspiring NYC comedian named Donna Stern (Slate), who uses her everyday life as a female 20something living in New York to provide her with ample material for her very relatable and everyday brand of humor. When she is up on stage, Donna is unapologetically herself, joking about all sorts of ordinary and everyday topics from things as intimate as her sex life and as crude as her day-old underwear. However, Donna’s boyfriend isn’t as amused as Donna’s audience about the intricacies of their life together and dumps her (taking up with Donna’s girlfriend.
Then, while still reeling from this unforeseen development, Donna winds up losing her job at an independent bookstore when she is informed by the owner of the store that the owner of the building is evicting them, and the store is going to be shut down. While still recovering from that hefty one-two punch to the gut, she hooks up with a college student one night and goes on an extended bender with him, winding up in his bed, only to discover a couple of weeks later that she is pregnant. Determining that she doesn’t want the baby, she plans an abortion which gets scheduled for Valentine’s Day. Yep, she is truly having the time of her life.
Now Donna has to navigate the murky waters of independent adulthood for the first time all on her own. Only as she grapples with an uncertain financial and emotional future, an unwanted pregnancy, and a surprising new suitor (the fresh-faced college grad student really does like her and pursues her even when rebuffed by Donna who is not entirely sure she wants to be with this guy, no matter how sweet he seems. While walking this road (and seeking advice from her own divorced parents) Donna begins to discover that the most terrifying thing about adulthood isn’t facing it all on her own. It’s allowing herself to accept the support and love of others.
The thoroughly enjoyable, and totally disarming film is anchored by a breakout performance from Slate, who shows her very vulnerable side, as well as true emotions as she puts it all up there on the screen for us to see. Obvious Child is a winning discovery, packed tight with raw, energetic comedy and moments of poignant human honesty, ultimately delivering to us a very unexpected, yes totally modern day, resolution to Donna’s problem, along with a very sweet and restorative ending to the film. A true delight, and well worth going out to see.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.