6 Reasons You Need To See “Obvious Child”
It’s not often that I endorse dragging your butt to go see a movie in the theater. Tickets cost as much as a cocktail, theatergoers are rude, the floors are sticky, and you can watch pretty much anything you want on Netflix and Hulu now anyway. But really, go see “Obvious Child,” starring Jenny Slate, Gaby Hoffman and Jake Lacy, which opens this weekend in NYC and LA (before heading to theaters nationwide this month). You heard me: GO! Here are six reasons why you can’t miss this movie … Spoilers ahead!
1. There’s an abortion in the movie, but it’s not an “abortion movie” per se. This movie is a rom-com. It’s not an “abortion movie.” There is an abortion in “Obvious Child,” but it’s a thread throughout the film, not the climax . The abortion is a medical decision that Donna (Slate) makes, but not one that defines her existence. Really, the movie is about a young woman coping with an unplanned pregnancy and everything good and bad that it entails.
2. The sex is realistic. Like a grown-ass 27-year-old woman, Donna wants sex and she goes and gets it. (I had to stop myself from beginning that sentence with “In the spirit of ‘Girls’…”) Sure, the sex is a drunken hookup that accidentally gets her pregnant. But that’s far more realistic than the lighting-candles, putting-on-soft-jazz that you usually see in movies. Who actually fucks like that?
3. Donna is unabashedly pro-choice. There is not a question in Donna’s mind as to whether she’ll carry this unwanted pregnancy to term. Contrary to the anti-abortion activists’ line of reasoning that women should have to wait 72 hours or some ungodly amount of time, just to make sure, Donna is resolute about her decision from the start. And I would know exactly what I want to do in that situation, too.
4. There isn’t a huge stigma around the abortion. As Feministing notes, the Planned Parenthood clinic that Donna goes to is “warm and welcoming.” The medical staff who attends to her are professional, helpful and non-pressuring — the exact same as hardworking clinic staffers in real life. Donna’s best friend Nellie, played by Gaby Hoffman, talks frankly about how she’s had an abortion in the past. Writes blogger Steph Herold on Feministing, “[Nellie] shares that the abortion wasn’t bad — it didn’t hurt and that the procedure itself lasted five minutes. … When was the last time you saw two women talking on screen about their abortions so directly and honestly, without euphemisms, and without mentioning abortion as a polarizing political issue?”
5. The film is honest about abortions before Roe vs. Wade, too. Donna tells her mother that she’s having an abortion and her mom is as loving and supportive as you can imagine. She even confesses that she had an abortion of her own back before abortion was effectively legalized by the Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade.
6. Jenny Slate is really fucking funny. I’m making it sound like “Obvious Child” is really heavy. It’s not, actually. It’s funny. Jenny Slate has been on “Parks & Recreation” and “Kroll Show” (were you as bummed as I was when she left “Saturday Night Live” after one season?) and her one-night-stand in the movie is played by Jake Lacy, an alum of “The Office.” The movie is a little bawdy, a little raunchy and feels very of-the-moment. Of course I love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Retta and Margaret Cho and Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig. But I look up to those women like I would big sisters. Jenny is 32, which makes her my contemporary, and the movie’s whole vibe reflects that.