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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Obvious Child - A Film Review

I really adored the movie Obvious Child, written and directed by Gillian Robespierre. I saw the original 2009 short film on Vimeo several years ago, and enjoyed seeing a feminist film about a woman who gets an abortion with no regrets. It starred Jenny Slate, and I knew of her from ten years ago from being on VH1 pop culture shows and briefly on SNL. I liked that she was really good in a dramatic role while still being charming and funny and relatable.

The full-length movie came out in 2014, and I love how it is a romantic comedy with a sympathetic heroine (Slate) named Donna, who is funny, vulnerable, and is coming of age at nearly 30, learning to be more confident and less insecure. She still gets an abortion (product of a one-night-stand after getting dumped by her boyfriend for her friend), but it isn't the point of the movie, nor is it her romance with her hookup. It is about her growing up and learning to love and accept herself.

While the movie can feel very insular in its depiction of Brooklyn hipster-ness (it is a very white cast, scenes are set in trendy parts of Williamsburg and Bushwick), I still found the movie touching, and I connected to it emotionally. I really liked the performances of Gaby Hoffmann and Gabe Liedman as Donna's best friends, who represent different aspects of her personality (the serious side and the party side) and while they contrast when giving her advice, Donna needs them both to be whole. Jake Lacy was endearing and boyishly sweet as the hookup, and I liked him in How to Be Single as well.

I hope to see more work from Gillian Robespierre, as she is very smart and talented and clearly feminist. and I like seeing Jenny Slate pop up in web series, TV shows, and voice work in cartoons, she is a gem.

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