Obvious Child is a comedy which breaks taboos when the star of the film deals with an unexpected pregnancy and decides to have an abortion. The pro-choice community is praising the film and seem to be as excited about Obvious Child as they were when Emily Letts filmed her own abortion.
According to Entertainment Weekly , “In the indie flick Obvious Child, Jenny Slate plays Donna, a Brooklyn-based standup comic who is unexpectedly dumped by her long-time boyfriend (Paul Briganti). What’s a sad twenty-something to do? Head to the bar to pound beers with a bestie (the Saturday Night Live alum’s real-life best friend Gabe Liedman) and end up in the arms of a sweet stranger (The Office regular Jake Lacy) in a one-night stand, obviously. But what happens next — spoiler alert! — isn’t exactly traditional rom-com material. Donna loses her job, finds out she’s pregnant, and speedily makes an appointment for an abortion, which just happens to fall on Valentine’s Day.”
Writing for Slate, Dana Stevens describes it this way, “Donna deduces she’s pregnant even before taking a drugstore test with her roomie. There was a condom on the premises that night, she insists—she’s just not sure exactly where it ended up, and when. The rest of Obvious Child doesn’t center around the question of whether or not Donna will have an abortion—she goes straight to Planned Parenthood to schedule one, though she’s still so early on she has to wait two more weeks—but whether or not, and how, she’ll tell Max. As a one-night stand (who seems willing, despite Donna’s dithering, to be more than that if she wants), does he have the right to know? What if he asks to come along? Who, if anyone, will help Donna pay for the procedure, given that she has no health insurance and the cost represents almost one month of her rent? (This last question is, disappointingly, elided in a movie that’s candid about so much else.)”
The filmmakers in promoting Obvious Child write, “For aspiring comedian Donna Stern, everyday life as a female twenty-something provides ample material for her hysterical and relatable brand of humor. On stage, Donna is unapologetically herself, joking about topics as intimate as her sex life and as crude as her day-old underwear. But when Donna winds up unexpectedly pregnant after a one-night stand, she is forced to face the uncomfortable realities of independent womanhood for the first time.”
That uncomfortable reality is an abortion and feminists and abortion enthusiasts are applauding the film.
A Feministing Blog writer says this, “Obvious Child is a huge breath of fresh air. Cultural depictions of abortion are not generally the greatest, often feeding into stigma or myths. Obvious Child provides an honest look of the choices available to women when facing an unplanned pregnancy.”
Another Feministing reviewer goes further, “In Obvious Child, Donna is not the only character who has had an abortion. In fact, she’s one of three women who talk about their abortions during the film. This might just be more than any other movie–and is much more realistic given that 3 in 10 American women will have an abortion in their lifetime.
“In a scene so familiar it feels like it could happen on your own couch, Donna’s best friend Nellie (played by Gabby Hoffman) describes her own abortion. She shares that the abortion wasn’t bad–it didn’t hurt and that the procedure itself lasted five minutes. This was not only a realistic portrayal of female friendship, but an unusually accurate portrayal of abortion (unlike most portrayals of abortion on film). Nellie also shares that although she thinks about her abortion from time to time, she doesn’t regret it. The weight and significance of this moment are palpable. 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?
“This connection around personal experience happens not once but twice in the film. Donna goes to her mother looking for support after not being able to figure out how to tell the guy she slept with that she’s pregnant. We’ve seen Donna and her mother’s tense relationship throughout the film—we don’t know whether her mom will be caring or dismissive. It turns out that Donna’s mom too has had an abortion, and shares her experience with her daughter. A moment that could’ve been filled with judgment and disappointment is instead filled with heartfelt empathy and support. I wish I could peer into the minds of American filmgoers as they see these women talk so openly and honestly about their abortions, breaking the stereotype that there’s only one type of person who has an abortion.”
Abortion giant Planned Parenthood tweeted this pic of the Obvious Child panelists including Fox News Contributor Sally Kohn, film star Jenny Slate, and Planned Parenthood VP Dawn Laguens:
MovieWebb praises the film, “Anchored by a breakout performance from Jenny Slate, Obvious Child is a winning discovery, packed tight with raw, energetic comedy and moments of poignant human honesty. Writer/Director Gillian Robespierre handles the topic of Donna’s unwanted pregnancy with a refreshing matter-of-factness rarely seen onscreen. And with Donna, Jenny Slate and Robespierre have crafted a character for the ages – a female audiences will recognize, cheer for, and love.”
Lia Beck who claims she is a former employee of a Planned Parenthood has posted this analysis of the scene where Slate has her abortion, “When Slate’s character Donna first visits Planned Parenthood after finding out she’s pregnant from a one-night stand, she meets with a doctor who estimates how far along she is in her pregnancy using her missed period and emphasizes the fact that she can speak to Donna about her options. Donna replies that she’s thought about it and has made her decision. This scene rang very true to me. I wasn’t a nurse, but often answered phone calls that ranged from women who knew exactly what they wanted to women who wanted to learn every detail of every type of procedure, get information on adoption, and talk about the possibility of scheduling an ultrasound. It’s not about forcing someone to talk about their options, just about making sure their comfortable with everything every step of the way.
“At the end of the movie, when Donna returns to the clinic, everything from the way the reception area looked to the way the area where women rest following their abortion was on point. For anyone who sees the film and has doubts, there really is a room where everyone sits on comfy lounge chairs following their procedures. In that scene, it was like Donna had an anonymity which is definitely the case at Planned Parenthood. Even though we learn so much about Donna, in that moment she was in the same situation as all the other women from all different walks of life. (Also, yes, it’s true that the ones who use sedation can be a little loopy.)…The abortion itself was just presented as though it were any day and any person.”
Obvious Child was released June 6th, 2014 and stars Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffmann, Gabe Liedman, David Cross, Richard Kind, Polly Draper, Paul Briganti. The film is directed by Gillian Robespierre.
“We weren’t sure how an abortion comedy would work out… [But] I think, what Jenny did was really capture that feeling of feeling lost and learning how to grow from that experience.”
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards also praises the director and tweets, “Director @GillianHardG on the inspiration for @ObviousChildMov, “a buoyant love story that begins with an abortion“
Planned Parenthood should know what the film is about, after all they received a private screening.
“I was just looking to play a woman that was recognizable to me, and I wasn’t finding a lot of that in the comedies I was watching and enjoying,” shares Slate. “We don’t exist in a world anymore where women have to hide that they have periods, or use the bathroom, or sometimes have to go and get abortions.”
Obvious Child opens in theaters June 6, 2014.