I have a deep love for Jenny Slate. She’s spontaneous, crass and outrageous; she has impeccable comedic timing. But all that in a movie about abortion? Would it be over the top? Would it be offensive? I waited until it was out on iTunes and I was alone at home to watch it.
Jenny did not let me down.
Slate gave us an honest performance as Donna Stern, a character that would not be described as mature, but treats the topic of abortion with maturity. Donna is relatable enough: Boyfriend, roommate, pursuing standup comedy at night and working at a bookstore to make ends meet. Your regular twenty-something girl that doesn’t quite have her shit together, but is overall happy with life. When she abruptly finds herself jobless and broken hearted, she deals with it by boozing hard (again, relatable). This leads to her meeting nice guy Max (Jake Lacy) which then leads to the most epic one night stand, dance party of two, EVER. We’ve seen a thousand versions of a one night stand; many include clubbing, quick shots of people doing shots and chugging drinks, colorful lighting, special effects, etc. This one wins the race by a mile. A simple montage of two people dancing to great music and having a blast that makes you feel your life is average. The night ends with Donna falling in bed with Max. Which leads to pregnancy.
Which is when we start clenching our asses.
When Donna gets her results from her gyno she makes the decision on the spot, dismissing the doc’s attempt to persuade her to think about it and in spite of the fact that the earliest available opening is on Valentine’s Day. She confides in her friends. They are supportive. She builds up the courage to tell her mother. She is supportive. She stands on a stage in front of an entire room of strangers and mid comedy routine tells them, and THEY ARE ALL SUPPORTIVE.
I sat in silence, processing the film once it was over. No confrontations with aggressive picketers? No family feud? No dramatic man-meltdown? Obvious Child is a movie about a woman that makes the difficult decision of getting an abortion with the support of her loved ones. What a fucking ground breaking concept!
I realized then what my default expectations of an abortion movie entail. It is not okay to have default expectations about abortion. This is why it is so incredibly important that people watch this movie. Watch it with your parents, grandparents, Christian friends. Watch it with your OkCupid date, watch it on every Valentines day over and over forever.
Whether one is pro-life or pro-choice doesn’t change the fact that this is a possible outcome. It happens. All the time in fact. We are constantly being molded by the information fed to us by the media, and all though we only see it in retrospect and resist change with all of our stubborn, terrified hearts, we change, little by little, and that is only possible with exposure to information. It is fair that this possibility be portrayed and accessible. In fact, it’s fucking beautiful.