“Obvious Child” Review by Ashley Menzel

Obvious Child

Obvious Child starring Jenny Slate as Donna and Jake Lacy as Max is a wonderful and rare occasion where a movie does an incredible job of balancing comedy, sometimes crude with humility and heart. It handles a classically taboo subject with a maturity and dignity, which in my opinion, validates the importance of women making their own life choices. Donna is a comedian who is dumped by her boyfriend within the first ten minutes of the film and unceremoniously loses her job. Like any stereotypical woman in a rom-com, she is thrown into a pit of loneliness, self-loathing, alcohol and wine. Lots of wine.

She then begins to frequent her favorite bar and meets a young man named Max. The usual drunken toss in the sheets occurs, Donna sneaks out of bed, grabbing her clothes and then we are presented with a slightly more ambiguous rendition of the walk of shame. After a few weeks, there is a big a-ha moment when Donna realizes that she hasn’t had her monthly visitor. Here’s my aside: As a woman, I don’t know how women let this whole “missing my period” thing sneak up on them. If I am one day late, I’m Googling like a fiend!

Donna, like a resourceful and responsible young woman, goes to the clinic to check if her pregnancy test was correct. She is indeed pregnant and decides to have an abortion. She schedules her abortion for the next day she can do it, February 14th. How cruel. Over the next few weeks, through a series of coincidental meetings, Max and Donna spend time together. Unable to communicate her condition and ultimately her decision to Max, she comes up with a plan.

Finally, in the most honest and painfully awkward comedy routine, Donna reveals to Max that she is pregnant and going to get an abortion. Her intentions were obviously to use a venue and a medium in which she is comfortable. After Donna reveals this to him, he show sup on the day of her procedure outside her house with a bouquet of flowers. “Awww”-s were heard worldwide. It was the aww heard –round the world. But honestly? We all wish there were men like Max in the world, and maybe there are, but it wouldn’t be this easy or with this little screaming, violence or drama, not too dissimilar to those Jerry Springer episodes.

The film concludes with Max and Donna snuggled and watching Gone with the Wind. While I understand the implications of choosing Gone with the Wind as the final movie, I don’t feel as though there is enough of a wide understanding of the themes present in Gone with the Wind to fully appreciate this choice. A major theme in Gone with the Wind is obvious the idea that women are intelligent and capable human beings and should be seen as such. They show amazing resilience in the harshest of times and are a symbol of strength, but I don’t know as though the general public will draw those connections. Regardless, I applaud the film for using it.

Overall, the performances were decent. Jenny Slate was clearly the strongest actor in the film. She was expressive, believable and was a valid representation of the everyday woman. The story was cute and entertaining enough, although slightly unbelievable. Most importantly, I feel that it is the strong-handed feminism and humanity that will make this film memorable. It is an unapologetic vignette of the real-life choices an American single woman has to make in the anti-feminist world.

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