Gillian Robespierre’s ‘Obvious Child’

I feel like I don’t understand my generation, there seems to be this belief that we can all do jobs which don’t seem like jobs and live in our 20’s forever. I think it started with Garden State but really it probably stems further back than that. While I know that films are works of fiction and in many cases are the dream scenario for the individual who writes them. Lets get to the plot.

This lady is not a productive member of society.

Obvious Child is the story of Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) who works in a book shop but moonlights as a comedian at night. Her brash style of comedy upsets her boyfriend one night when she is particularly candid with their relationship and he leaves her. Donna seeks comfort from her mother Nancy Stern (Polly Draper), Nellie (Gaby Hoffman) and eventually on drunken one night stand Max (Jake Lacy). After spending the evening with Max she finds that she is pregnant and seeks to have the child aborted. She once again finds herself seeking comfort but avoid telling Max. As time goes on Max attempts to court Donna but she rebuffs him due to several stresses. Will they get together? Is the child obvious? Will she keep the baby?

Looks like that coffee tastes awful.

The first thing to say about this movie is that it feels less like it has been directed and more like it has been captured with a lot of the dialogue coming off as improvisational. As the films cast are mostly comedians improvisation works fine, non comedian actors are cast in roles that do not require any witty repertoire but occasionally get in a good line. Jenny Slate is fantastic in the title role bringing the right mix of vulnerability and strength, less strong is Jake Lacy but that maybe more to do with the script and the lack of characterisation for Max.

She’s hot and she does comedy. Essentially perfection but with more penis jokes.

As you can expect with a film about comedians the plot moves at a natural pace and everyone makes they’re intentions clear which is nice. It’s actually very refreshing after watching ‘The Strain’ for so long to see something which has characters making rational choices when under duress. The shooting style is intimate with a lot of close shots of the characters faces as they react to each other which is perfect for a film that is all about the characters.

I will never understand these crazy kids.

I would recommend this film to anyone in that awkward 20 to mid 30’s age range still searching for something to do with themselves for the rest of their existence. I give the film a Mad Mel Gibson and a half.


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