‘Obvious Child’

If I was to recommend any film about abortion, I would definitely say Obvious Child is the one to watch (sorry there, Vera Drake).

“It’s hilarious, it’s heartbreaking and it’s totally genius”, according to the Moviefone pullquote for the above poster. Indeed, it is all of those things and much more. I can’t remember exactly why I watched it (I always need a reason, dammit) but I do know that it fulfills all of the hype.

2014 was a very good year for indie films. BoyhoodBirdman and Whiplash all received widespread critical and, more surprisingly, awards acclaim, as well as pretty decent box office returns. It shows that maybe the tide is turning and there is room in awards season for shows that are more than just straight up Oscar bait (2016 update: jury’s still out on that one…). The next leg in this development will hopefully be in giving comedy more of a chance, and namely Jenny Slate a whirl at Best Actress.

Jenny Slate should be in everything. I’m putting that out there now and standing by it. She and Kathryn Hahn. Doing comedy and drama and making all of our hearts warm and our mouths smiling.

Obvious Child is about a female comedian in her twenties as she navigates through her work and love life, and eventual abortion. It’s pretty progressive, even in 2014/15, to have the lead female character have an abortion feature as a main plot point. It is even more progressive to have this as very much a given decision. She got pregnant by a guy that she was only seeing very casually and she was in no place financially or emotionally to bring a child into the world, so she did what a lot of women in her situation would do, and do it with no regrets.

Of course there is some emotional resonance to this, but it feels that Slate’s character has more issues in dealing with relationship and life fallouts than with the abortion itself. Much like other modern women do.

Gillian Robespierre (writer/director) and Jenny Slate have another film that I believe is currently in production. Obvious Child was Robespierre’s debut feature, expanding upon her short of the same name (note: film-makers, try it this way round. The system works!). If they succeed in again combining comedy, drama and reality, I will be right at the front of the queue watching it.

As an added bonus there are a fair few scenes of very realistic good/bad stand-up that I’m sure people in the comedy know would fully appreciate. The stage is not the shrink’s couch. Women: deal with your problems at home (and don’t expect any help on a Thursday).

8/10 – women can do films too. Who knew?!


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