Abortion doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with romantic comedies. It’s generally avoided by mainstream movies. But given that it’s a hot-button topic and something that many women deal with nowadays, it’s about damn time that someone made a film revolving around the complexities and romantic complications behind the matter. Enter Obvious Child.
Written and directed by Gillian Robespierre, the movie centers around a recently-dumped comedienne’s unwanted pregnancy after having drunken sex with a stranger. Though the premise sounds a lot like one Knocked Up touched upon a few years ago, Obvious Child is much more than just a tale of “woman gets pregnant after unprotected sex, gets with the man who impregnated her.” It’s unabashed and addresses more than just what goes on when two people accidentally make a baby together.
Obvious Child is raw and its conversation highlight what many know — and perhaps even dealt with — that other romantic comedies are too afraid to even address. Donna (Jenny Slate) doesn’t owe anyone anything. Soon-to-be unemployed and nowhere ready to become a mother, she knows she wants and abortion and she makes the arrangements to get one. It’s a decision that women today face and it’s refreshing and empowering to see a character with boldness in film, especially one in a genre that has received plenty of heat for being too contrived with its romantic storylines.
Modern romance is a whole new complicated monster and Obvious Child delivers on that. Abortion aside, Donna’s relationship with Max (Jake Lacy), the Manhattan-based grad student and total opposite of her Brooklynite creative spirit who just so happens to have impregnated her, reflects the unconventional courtship many singletons face. Down to her stubbornness and tendency to creep on her ex, Donna is embarrassingly-relatable to those who may call themselves the Hannah Horvath of her friends group. The drama of it all lies within how Donna will tell Max about her plans to abort his child while falling for the guy under very poorly-timed circumstances.
In all, Obvious Child is an atypical romantic comedy that should — and thankfully does — exist. Though on the surface it may raise a lot of red flags for the conservative crowd, the film really is a funny and sweet story that just so revolves around a taboo topic. As we’ve learned from the popularity of shows like Girls, viewers know life as a 20-something these days is tricky and weird and they seek out realistic characters that unapologetically exude that very same concept. And really, is there anything more complicated than telling a guy that you’re carrying his abortion?
“Obvious Child” opens in selected theaters this Friday, June 6.