‘Obvious Child’ Review — NO TOFU

Originally published at NO TOFU

“Obvious Child” opened nationwide Friday, following a limited premiere on the 7th. The film was written and directed by Gillian Robespierre, and is based on a 2009 short film of the same name. This is Robespierre’s first full-length film.

Starry Jenny Slate in the lead role, “Obvious Child” centers on Donna Stern, a struggling 20-something comedian recovering from a difficult breakup. Following an agonizing set at the local club Stern regularly performs at, she has a one-night stand with Max (Jake Lacy), a man she met that night. A few weeks later, Stern finds herself pregnant and doesn’t hesitate to choose an abortion. But when it comes to telling Max about her plans and navigating a potential new relationship, Stern is lost.

The film has been hailed as an honest and groundbreaking work by newcomer Robespierre and comedian Jenny Slate. It has also been branded as a taking back of the romantic comedy, which rings true given the unique love story viewers see play out. Robespierre avoids the traditional dramatic trappings of a conventional boy-meets-girl, instead focusing on the awkward vulnerability and laugh-out-loud hilarious moments that make up typical relationships. Despite the film pivoting on an abortion, the film never veers into cautionary tale territory, and Stern is never disparaged regarding her decision. The dialogue is heavy on banter, creeping at times towards a Mumblecore-like style loaded quippy one-liners. Shots are kept tight on Stern and the supporting cast, adding to the overall sense of intimacy established by the dialogue. The film will make you laugh, cringe, and perhaps even cry, making it a more truthful representation of dating and friendship than we’ve seen in a long time.

“Obvious Child” is currently playing nationwide.

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