Abortion romantic comedy Obvious Child so cool

Slate and Lacy

Slate and Lacy

The following comes from a Jan. 20 story in the Sundance Review.

At last year’s Sundance, Lake Bell’s wonderful In a World stuck to the conventional tenets of a romantic comedy while featuring the feminist theme of a woman trying to make it in the sexist industry of trailer voiceovers. At this year’s Sundance, Gillian Robespierre’s equally winning Obvious Child, an entry in the NEXT section, similarly sticks to the rom-com arc while throwing in a gutsy curveball: The film’s main woman and man fall in love while getting an abortion.

That main woman would be Donna (Jenny Slate, charismatic and funny as hell), a twentysomething stand-up comedian, who cracks jokes about her Jewish looks, flatulence and daily panty stains at a small Brooklyn dive bar. She’s been dumped by her boyfriend, and is pickling in break-up booze when she meets Max (Jake Lacy), a straight-arrow business student wearing the decidedly non-Brooklyn attire of a crisp button-up and boat shoes. You probably know the story from here: These two polar-opposite types hook up, she gets accidentally pregnant, and it takes them several weeks of flirting and fighting to realize they may mean more to each other than just a one-night stand.

Robespierre’s crisp direction and Slate’s infectious personality would be enough to carry such a story even if those were its only aspirations, but they opt for a different route. Donna realizes that — duh — having a baby at this point in her life would be fairly disastrous: She’s low on income, low on interest in child-rearing, and low on the emotional maturity needed to do so. Like many twentysomethings of the twenty-first century, Donna is the obvious child of the title. So, with little ado (but with some drawn-out difficulty telling Max), she goes for the abortion.

And now for an observation. In the instances that abortion does make its way into romance-oriented films, it usually goes something like this: 1) the leading lady gets pregnant, 2) the leading lady considers an abortion, and then 3) the leading lady opts to keep the child. Thus such films broach the “edgy” possibility of an abortion without actually sacrificing any of the non-crowdpleasing effects that an abortion might have on the storyline. (Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody’s Juno would be the salient example.)

So hats off to Robespierre and Slate. They’ve managed to deliver a film with actual edge, which somehow retains the characteristics that any successful romantic comedy should have: It’s heartwarming, romantic and very funny (and, significantly, at no point do they downplay the emotional ramifications an abortion can have on a woman). This is the type of crowd-pleaser we could use more of.

To read the original story, click here.

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  1. This is a sick. Their trivialization and romanticization of abortion is as or more evil than abortion itself.

  2. Tom Byrne says:

    Dr. Johnson observed that in a book (or film) there is no afterlife, so that if good is not rewarded nor evil punished in some fashion between the covers, it never is. The depiction of evil should never conceal either the evil or its consequences and never present any character who is intended as a hero acting wickedly, or at least acting wickedly without serious consequences.

  3. Prof.Helen McCaffrey says:

    One of my colleagues died after having her stomach stapled. Equating abortion to a similar procedure, not involving another INDEPENDENT, human being is the height of illogic, narcissism and immorality.

  4. life lady says:

    Oh, wow, true romance with an “edgy” death of an innocence. Wow, where do these people get these storylines? It’s supposed to be a “chick flick” that women are supposed to find engaging and entertaining? I can’t imagine anyone but a rabid fem thinking that this is a great story. I will certainly avoid the theatre playing this one. And if I DO happen to go to see anything at a movieplex (I usually avoid those places like the plague) I will be certain to take my sleeping mask and some earplugs in case I am subjected to that one as a “coming attraction”.

  5. How ironic that the director’s name is “Robespierre.” I wonder if there is any relation to the infamous Frenchman? He was very powerful in the French Revolution, but had a rather unpleasant and ugly downfall.

  6. Linda Maria says:

    Total 1960s hippie trash! No moral conscience, no decency, no natural human sensitivity, only babyish “hippie trash,” of the lowest kind imaginable!! Narcissistic, selfish, immoral, immature, ignorant, Godless, and worse– there is no natural portrayal of eventual consequences, for evil of the worst kind! That is just the ignorant, liberal “hippie” way of viewing Life– no morals, no decency, no human sensitivity, no self-discipline, no adult maturity of any kind, and no understanding that we must face consequences for doing evil! Life is not some sort of “baby game,” for imbeciles, or “hippie dope party,” with “no tomorrows,” because the hippie is “high” on dope, and has lost their reasoning! Life is a serious thing! Our country desperately needs to be “re-Christianized!” Without that, there is little hope!

  7. Linda Maria says:

    I will say one more thing. Good, sincere, practicing Catholics, never have the desire to see immoral movies or tv shows, or read immoral books and literature, or listen to immoral music. They are truly faithful to Christ, and truly love Him!

  8. Abeca Christian says:

    How about that disgusting Hollywood version of Noah, that new movie that is coming out….not biblical….its disgusting what they are feeding the public and the public who does nothing to better themselves, instead they follow the whatever trash Hollywood wants to feed them!

    • Ann Malley says:

      Abeca the movie, “The Nativity” was actively promoted in parishes as a good movie. And yet that movie contradicted the reality of Our Lady’s perpetual virginity. But hey, the attitude is that it got most things right and was really well done.

      I recall my father calling to tell us to go see it as it was a great movie recommended by his parish priest. WHAT?!

      The only reason why Hollywood gets away with anything is because the public is eager to lap it up. Catholics included, especially regarding religious movies.

      It’s a sad but predictable state of affairs as it is written that there will come a great apostasy.

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