Release Date: June 06, 2014
Starring: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby
Hoffmann, Gabe Liedman, David
Cross, Richard Kind, Polly
Draper, Cindy Cheung, Stephen
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 83 minutes
Distributor: A24 Films
Director: Gillian Robespierre
Executive Producer: Julia Godzinskaya, David
Kaplan, Gillian Robespierre,
Michael Sackler, Jenny Slate,
Brent Stiefel, Sophie Vickers
Producer: Elisabeth Holm
Writer: Gillian Robespierre, Karen
Main, Elisabeth Holm
Address Comments To:David Fenkel
601 West 26th Street, Suite 1740
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (646) 568-6015; Website: www.a24films.com
Donna Stern is an “everyday” late twenties New Yorker. Working at a small bookstore, the only thing Donna aspires to is comedy, doing free shows here and there. Donna mostly uses the stage to joke about her relationships and sexual activity. One evening after a show, Donna’s boyfriend says he’s leaving her. Donna doesn’t take being dumped very well. To make things worse, her boss tells her that the bookstore is being shut down, so she’ll be without a job.
Feeling in the pits, Donna’s next comedy stint is a drunken disaster. Afterwards, Donna meets Max, a conservatively dressed, well-mannered young man who takes interest in Donna. It doesn’t take long before they’re both drunk at his place. The next morning, Donna sneaks out and never plans on seeing him again.
A few weeks later, Donna finds out she’s pregnant. Freaking out, it doesn’t take long before she decides to get an abortion, mostly because she just doesn’t want a child at the moment. The remainder of the movie is Donna working up the courage to tell Max she’s pregnant while figuring out whether or not he’s someone with whom she really wants to be involved. Eventually, she tells Max the news, and he willingly supports her abortion decision. The movie ends with them getting the abortion on Valentine’s Day.
OBVIOUS CHILD is low budget, but isn’t poorly made. The story structure works, and Jenny Slate (Donna) has good comedic timing, but the movie isn’t funny. Also, the overall message this movie sends is revolting and appalling. Ironically, the story clearly and obviously shows the selfishness it takes to abort a child, but instead of running from that, the movie embraces and celebrates this selfishness without batting an eyelash. Donna is a child (not literally) and is with child. This obvious play on words in the movie’s title may have seemed clever, but did it cross their minds that they’re actually admitting that the fetus is indeed a child? At one point before a comedy show and the day before the abortion, Donna’s friend tells her that she’s going to kill it (up on stage). Donna jokingly tells her, “No, that’s what we’re doing tomorrow” (implying the preborn baby’s murder). The overt and callous cold heartedness in this scene is mind-boggling. The fact that the filmmakers think young women will relate to Donna’s life is revealing and incredibly sad.
Oddly, the movie shows that abortion has a negative effect on women. Donna confides and asks advice of two other women who received abortions, her best friend and her mother. Though both look back with hints of sorrow of their decision, neither regrets it. Even Donna who goes into Planned Parenthood quite cheerfully sheds some tears during the procedure, but no regret is seen afterwards. The most baffling revelation is that Donna gives no good reason for getting the abortion other than the fact that she just doesn’t want to have a baby. Max is a gentleman through most of the movie, though he makes same very poor decisions regarding Donna. His decision to support the abortion is completely out of character because of his otherwise relatively selfless nature.
Not surprisingly, OBVIOUS CHILD is also littered with foul language and graphic sexual jokes. This makes it even more morally reprehensible and completely abhorrent.
OBVIOUS CHILD is appalling on many levels, but mostly due to its cold-hearted view of abortion. In one way, this movie clearly shows the selfishness it takes to abort a child, but instead of running from that, it embraces and celebrates the selfishness without batting an eyelash. Not very funny, OBVIOUS CHILD is also littered with foul language and graphic lewd jokes, thus making it morally reprehensible and completely abhorrent. OBVIOUS CHILD is a movie that people with a moral conscious will avoid.