Movie review: Obvious Child

Obvious Child, the new movie from debut writer/director Gillian Robespierre, is the first movie I attended where protestors lined the entrance to the theater.

Which is a shame, because it was a pretty good movie.

People are protesting this movie because the protagonists, played by the adorable Jenny Slate, undergoes an abortion. I believe a main reason of contention among the people outside was that the abortion was not even the main focus of the movie. There was no anguished discussions about what it means or how she will live with herself, instead the movie is really about a woman going through a serious bump in the road and the choices she makes that put her on the path to a more adult world.

Slate plays Donna, a twenty-something stand up comedian living in New York. It sounds like a movie typical of the indie "mumble-core" genre movie, and to some extent it is, but the movie is definitely elevated by Slate's performance. Slate is known for her short stint on SNL (in which she accidentally dropped an F-bomb on air) and her fantastic guest role as the incredulous Mona-Lisa Sapperstein on NBC's Parks and Rec. She is equally hilarious as Donna, a foul mouth comedian who has a penchant for toilet humor and getting drunk before and after her comedy set.

When Donna becomes pregnant it is less about the pregnancy and more about relying on the support system she has built, and making adult, "grown up" choices. But the real fun in this movie is the small interactions between the characters, whether it be Donna and her one-night stand/potential love interest Max (played by Jake Lacy) or with Donna and the wonderful Gabby Hoffman as her best friend. The scenes where Donna literally tries to hide in a box from her problems, or the beautiful scene where she goes to her mom for help elevates this film to so much more than a story about a girl who gets pregnant. It's a character pieces about a young woman trying to make healthier choices in life.

Obvious child is playing at the Tampa Theatre Sunday, July 6, through Thursday, July 17.

Skip this movie if:

  • You don't want to see a movie about a woman choosing to have an abortion
  • You have a low tolerance for Brooklyn
  • You want non-stop laughter. It's not a laugh per minute comedy

See this movie if:

  • You like movies about struggling comedians/artists
  • You want to see a semi-serious "coming of age" movie
  • You think Paul Simon's song "obvious Child" would be a cool song to dance to


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