Like I said on my previous review, I’ve been slowly working my way through a very clustered watch list. Though I love movies, I tend to not be as committed to them as I am to television shows. Sometimes I’ll watch entire seasons of shows while two hour films sit half watched on my computer, Netflix or shelf. “Obvious Child” was one of those movies that I told myself to watch a few times before but only got around to actually watching earlier today.
I’m a big fan of rom-coms, and I love anything set in New York. I also like cool female characters, especially if they are played female comedians. That being said, I really dislike the show “Girls”. I don’t know if it’s because of the Lena Dunham “I’m the voice of a generation!” declarations and general existence, but I just couldn’t bring myself to like it even though it checks pretty much all of my ‘favorite things’ boxes. When I started watching “Obvious Child”, I was a bit worried that it would be so much like “Girls” that I just wouldn’t be able to like it. Thankfully, I was wrong! Now, it does have a lot in common with the show, but I felt like the tone and the way with dealt with the situations was different and more sensitive, which made it likable even when talking about a strong subject such as abortion.
The movie follows Donna, a 20-something stand-up comedian who, after going through a tough break-up, has a one-night stand with a guy and ends up unexpectedly pregnant. She then has to face some of the uncomfortable realities of womanhood. Jenny Slate (who you may know from SNL or, better yet, as Mona-Lisa Saperstein on “Parks and Recreation”) plays the main character, and she is responsible for turning a character that could easily be simply annoying into a three-dimensional, relatable one. Donna doesn’t have anything in her life together, and it becomes clear from the first ten minutes of the movie why she clearly isn’t ready for a baby right now. The movie explores this realization, and treats it with a frankness that’s rarely seen even in the raunchiest movies. Donna doesn’t have any second thoughts about her choice, but that doesn’t mean she has no insecurities or conflicts about it.
The movie has some classic rom-com tropes, but the romantic relationship that happens doesn’t seem forced or overplayed as it often does, but follows Donna’s process of becoming more mature. In fact, mature is a word I would use to describe this movie as a whole. Even though it is a comedy and has its raunchy and silly moments, especially during Donna’s stand-up routines, it portrays relationships, be it family, friend or romantic relationships, in a very supportive light. Donna’s mom seems distant at first, but shows a softer side as the movie progresses. Her friends are always there for her, be it helping her when she decides to go through with the abortion or cheering her up after a particularly bad stand-up session. The boy she hooks up with is revealed to be very caring and considerate. I really enjoyed seeing a woman surrounded by such a strong support system when she is going through what I can imagine being a difficult moment.
“Obvious Child” didn’t have any groundbreaking technical aspects to it, but it did feel like a breath of fresh air in the way it dealt with sensitive subjects, and managed to not be pretentious while doing it. Instead, this movie was funny, frank and portrayed a female character that is definitely not your average romantic comedy character. Give this movie a shot if you’re looking for a witty, non-traditional comedy!
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