Friday, July 11, 2014

Overcoming Childhood, One Step at a Time

When a woman gets pregnant in the movies, she considers her options.  Normally, there's some time spent weighing the pros and cons of her life, but she usually ends up having the child.  Whether it is a Judd Apatow comedy or a quirky Ellen Page getting knocked up and giving it up for adoption, the mainstream decision is to have the child.  That is not the case for the sweet, original, and endearing, dare I say it, abortion comedy, Obvious Child.  

Jenny Slate plays Donna, a comedian who loses both her bookstore day job and her boyfriend within days of each other.  She falls down a shame spiral (the scene where she performs a comedy set drunk is particularly painful), and she goes home with a nice boy named Max, played Jake Lacy.  Perhaps because Donna and Max were both drunk, a condom might not have been used the way it was intended.  Donna discovers that she's pregnant, and she decides that she will have an abortion.  

Donna clearly can't take care of a child, so carrying the child isn't really an option.  It's not really discussed.  Her student loan mail is still going to her mother's house, and she slowly watches her job slip away from her.  Donna's friends (Gaby Hoffman and Gabe Liedman) are more than prepared to show her the way.  
The premise of Obvious is quite simple, but the subject matter is rather heavy.  However, Slate handles it with a realistic verse and wit that is so relatable that I challenge anyone not to fall in love with Donna.  When she performs on stage there is a confidence that exudes from her.  We first see this at the top of the movie, so we are rooting for her to be all right from the very first frame.  Her chemistry with Max feels so organic.  It's awkward and sweet and funny all at once.  It's enough to make you want to just hug this movie so tightly in a comfy warm blanket.  On a complete side note, Lacy looks like the perfect mix between Michael C. Hall and Nicholas Hoult.  Think about it...

The best thing about Obvious Child is that it's really Donna's journey, and she makes all of her decisions.  When she makes the decision to have the procedure, there isn't a sequence where she mulls it over.  It's really her choice, and it's empowering to see.  Max is present, and she does indeed like him.  Donna hasn't really been around someone as nice and attentive of Max, so it takes her a moment to realize that this is someone she should appreciate more.  

I am actually reluctant to call it an "abortion comedy," because it's just a simple story about a funny girl navigating her life.  And not so baby bumps along the way.  

1 comment:

  1. I want to hug this movie, too.