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Obvious Child

Acknowledging the elephant in the room, Obvious Child isn’t for everyone. That said.

The indie movie is about a young stand-up comic, Donna, in the midst of a messy breakup, flailing career, and no income as the bookstore she works at gets shut down. After a one-night stand with Max, a clean cut fellow from Vermont and who, as her mother confirms, “is not her type,” Donna realizes she’s pregnant. Not ready to become a mother, she decides to get an abortion and finds support in surprising places around those closest to her.

The humor in the movie is absolutely fantastic. As a stand-up comedian, Donna’s all about the potty humor. Yet in her life, she’s got this delicious combination of wit and vulnerability and mental agility. This may have been the only movie in my life where the entire audience laughed out loud, from Donna’s awkward first moments with Max to her drunken monologue about her ex-boyfriend.

While Donna’s decision to terminate her pregnancy isn’t the driving force behind the plot, it is a really significant part of the story — rightfully so. Her visit to Planned Parenthood really struck a chord with me. It seemed like the entire theater cocked their head to the side in confusion after hearing that she’d need to wait for the procedure and that it would cost $500, a considerable chunk of change for someone with no income and no insurance.

It’s realistic. In the past, a large part of my work centered around options counseling for women with unintended pregnancies. Through these conversations, I became a sounding board for the subtleties of making such a decision — an unintended pregnancy has no ideal solution.

This is an experience that many women go through without shame and regret, but not without emotion. Hopefully it’s something that people can connect to and have a conversation about. Whatever side you’re on.
Elisabeth Holm

For me, it was really touching to witness that realism in a film, without judgments. It stirred up a lot of emotions for me around being a big supporter of the full spectrum of choice.

On top of that personal connection, Jenny Slate was absolutely amazing at portraying such a complex character, using humor to unabashedly share who she is with the world. I definitely recommend checking it out if you can, if only to see the whole picture — and revel in Donna’s Bridesmaids-esque potty humor.

2 Comments

  • andreabadgley

    I heard a review of this on the radio the other day, and between that and your reaction to this movie, now I really want to see it. I imagine it must have really resonated with you given your interest in pregnancy and birthing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it – I was curious to hear about it from someone who’d seen it.

    • Erica

      Ah, yes! I was listening to the NPR interview earlier. It’s definitely worth it – it’s absolutely hilarious, and somehow really sincere at the same time.

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