One movie that perhaps flew a little under the radar in 2014 was an independent film entitled “Obvious Child.” This film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, was labeled as a first of it’s kind, categorized as an “abortion comedy.” There has been some uproar about treating the subject of abortion as a laughing matter; however the way that the film approached the issue is more of a lighthearted, non-threatening commentary on one woman’s path of choice than an outward political statement. Approaching this topic in a positive light, using a relatable and quirky main character as the driving force, the movie works to empower women to make the choice that’s right for them, even with much opposing societal pressure.
Every so often it is important for filmmakers to use film as a way of communicating an effective message to an audience, no matter how subtle. Film is a great medium in which to do that because the takeaway message will ultimately sneak into the audiences brains without them necessarily noticing. Thus, it becomes a great art form to convey awareness or support for a certain subject.
This movie would not be what it is without the flawless performance from Jenny Slate. Slate is a comedian previously known for her one year stint on Saturday Night Live, and her successful series of web videos entitled “Marcel the Shell.” Her performance in “Obvious Child” was her breakout role in the film industry. Slate plays a Brooklyn stand-up comedian named Donna, who is still searching for purpose in life. When her boyfriend later breaks up with her in the bathroom, of a comedy club Slate realistically and effectively conveys Donna’s unexpected heartbreak in a way that causes the audience to feel sympathetic and connected. Donna goes through the typical downward spiral after her breakup, like drinking wine constantly and stalking her ex-boyfriend. Her built-up angst causes her to do the unthinkable- have a one-night stand with a random guy she just met. This subsequently results in an unplanned pregnancy that she chooses to terminate, yet struggles with the thought of whether or not to tell the guy. In the wrong hands, the character of Donna could be intolerable, yet Slate channels all of her insecurities into something familiar and even charming. In every sense, this was a relatable and entertaining movie about overcoming obstacles in an event to keep moving forward.