The words “charming abortion film” don’t often lend themselves to one another, yet in the case of Gillian Robespierre’s latest romance they are the perfect choice. In fact, calling Obvious Child a romantic comedy at all is misleading. This is a film that rejects convention, subverting the usual genre clichés while retaining a warm, tender appeal through injections of sharp humour and witty cynicism.
For aspiring comedian Donna Stern, no topic is out of bounds in her weekly stand-up routine. Be it crusty underwear or female flatulence, all the horrors of everyday life are targets for her piercing humour. However, after being dumped by her boyfriend, losing her job and finding herself pregnant after a one-night stand, Donna must turn to something more than the defensive bounds of humour to fix her problems. With best friend Nellie at her side Donna grapples with an uncertain financial future, an unwanted pregnancy and a new suitor in the form of the clean-cut and sensible Max, and in the process realises the power of unity within hardship and the importance of finding comfort in pain.
Most romantic comedies often side step the reality of unwanted pregnancy, either posing the suggestion of abortion and abandoning it, or not tackling the subject at all. Obvious Child deals with this tricky topic head on through raw, lively comedy and poignant sincerity. It’s Jenny Slate’s break-out performance as Donna that really anchors the film. Her energetic, authentic style allows for an exploration of abortion that jumps from vulgarity to pathos, unafraid of humouring serious issues but never downplaying the emotional ramifications of her life choices.
Obvious Child not only rises above convention, subverting romance and transcending the bounds of typical “indie” film affairs, it also abounds in raw authenticity. A blend of unadulterated realism and snappy humour, Obvious Child takes a jaded genre and makes it sparkle.
Obvious Child is released nationwide on 29th August 2014.
Watch the trailer for Obvious Child here: