The final installment in our Films about How Fucking Hard It Is to be an Adult series and this is a good one to go out on, I feel. It’s pretty topical too when you consider all the Repeal the 8th stuff going on right now (it’s obviously been ongoing).
I’ve seen this before a couple of times and wasn’t disappointed when Jill chose it to view this week. Our originally scheduled film fell by the wayside due to my reluctance to pay for it (though it’s a good ‘un so there’s little doubt we’ll come back to it in good time).
Sooooo, without further ado, and a fair share of *Spoilers* too:
Obvious Child (2014)
IMDB Synopsis: A twenty-something comedienne’s unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront the realities of independent womanhood for the first time.
Donna Stern (Slate) is a stand up comic with medium success (some nights are better than others, put it that way). Recently dumped (by her boyfriend in the Trainspotting-esque toilet in da club for one of her friends no less), she’s a hot mess. Lucky she has an outlet for all her rage and misery right?
One night, drunk and in charge of the mic, Donna goes in on her ex on stage. At the bar, she catches the eye of Max (Lacy) who (luckily?) misses her set. The two share a spark (mutual street peeing and an accidental fart), and one thing leads to another – they bang, Donna leaves in the morning – and that my friends is that.
Except it isn’t is it, because this is an 84 minute film (the perfect length if you ask me) and we have to go somewhere with the characters. Might as well eh? A few weeks later Donna discovers she is preggo. Scheduling an abortion at Planned Parenthood, she has the option of two dates: her mother’s birthday or Valentine’s Day. The latter wins out.
Before she even has a chance to think about telling Max, or even if she has to (her best friend Nellie doesn’t see why she would), he tracks her down at the bookshop she works in. Things are awkward. They take an even odder turn when Max turns up at Donna’s mother’s house while she’s there to return a book he borrowed (he’s a former student of her mum).
The two end up having lunch and although Donna plans to tell him about the termination, he says something that prompts her to keep quiet. There’s more awkwardness between our two new friends as they establish what they are to one another, Donna goes home/to bed with someone else, and all that crap that comes with getting to know someone (“Getting to know all about yooooo!”).
Along the way, Donna confides all her woes to her mother, Nancy (Polly Draper) who comforts her and then admits that she too had an abortion before Donna was conceived.
This is ultimately an unconventional love story of sorts, so that’s not the end of our lovers. Donna makes a mistake then reaches out to Max to try and fix it. She ends up fucking up even harder when he finds out about her pregnancy and impending abortion when he shows up to see her comedy set. Ooops.
Is there a way back from this? Can Donna and Max start afresh with this ‘baggage’ already behind them?
I’d recommend you check it out for yourselves to answer these questions. It’s worth it, I promise.
I like this movie. It’s unapologetic of course for it’s subject matter but it’s the way in which it’s handled that I appreciate. It has a maturity about it and although our main protagonist is a flake who’s likeability factor fluctuates, she’s ultimately true to herself and that’s interesting to watch.
It raises interesting conversation about Women’s Rights, autonomy over their own bodies and whether a one night stand has the right to know any of this if you don’t want him too. It delivers all sorts of perspectives and opinions, and it’s got a great cast.
Gaby Hoffman, Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy have all appeared in Lena Dunham‘s Girls at some point in their careers and I suppose you could liken the feel of Obvious Child to that hyper-real style of film-making.
I love the Mother/Daughter stuff and I like the way it ends, it’s sweet and heart-warming. I also respect the notion that a journey like this would likely change a person, and it’s entirely possible that would be for the better. There’s also no question throughout this, as there so often is in films/shows that feature abortion that there will be a termination at the end, and I think that’s so important. It happens.
My Rating: 4/5. Pretty solid. I like it.