Why ‘Obvious Child’ is the movie you should watch tonight
Every now and then a movie comes along that hits you right where you need it to, but you didn’t realize how much you needed it until it happened. Obvious Child—which is FINALLY on Netflix, Amazon streaming and On Demand—is that film.
Through her stand-up about sex, underwear and relationships, we meet Donna (Jenny Slate), a twenty-something—verging on thirty-something—comedienne living in Brooklyn. Donna’s life takes a turn when her boyfriend, Ryan, breaks up with her. Her comedy begins to suffer through a series of unfunny breakup jokes. After a particularly awful performance where her plan afterward is to go home, put on her sweatpants and “try to hold [my] breath until I die,” she meets Max (The Office’s Jake Lacy!), a sweetheart business student. Shortly after their one-night-stand, Donna finds out that she’s pregnant. Obvious Child explores what happens when a moment of rebounding turns into the biggest, most unexpected decision of your life. But it’s also so much more than that.
Obvious Child brims with an abundance of heart, soul and humor. Most of all, it’s relatable. You want to hug every member of that cast (minus Ryan, if you want to hug Ryan stop reading this now).
Big hugs aside though, let’s talk about why this movie needs to get in your Netflix queue ASAP.
1) Jenny Slate rules.
SNL alum Jenny Slate is the perfect fit as Donna because you never see her as a character. She’s a fully three-dimensional person. She’s so witty, self-deprecating and good-natured that it’s impossible to watch this movie and not see yourself, or one of your friends, as Donna.
2) The storytelling is totally original
In one scene, Donna’s brain narrates an attempt to piece together the night she slept with Max. Did they use a condom or not? Donna is pretty sure they did, but Donna’s brain pointedly reminds her that she really can’t remember. What could have been a scene with Donna nervously pacing back and forth is turned into a clever two minutes of mental debate trying to recap that fateful night. And that scene perfectly encapsulates how unpredictable and refreshing the narrative is throughout the entire film.
3) Her friendship support system is incredible.
This is not a film where anyone bashes Donna on her right to choose what she does next. Her friends are supportive, real and loyal. In particular, I loved Gaby Hoffmann as Donna’s BFF Nellie who doesn’t judge her bestie, and openly shares her own experience of making a difficult pregnancy decision.
4) And Donna’s parents? They’re awesome.
Post-breakup with her boyfriend, Donna’s father reminds her that, “Creative energy sometimes comes from the lowest point in your life.” It’s the kind of dad advice that makes any difficult situation a little easier. Donna’s mother also embraces her when she finds out she’s pregnant. Nobody disowns anyone or gets angry. That’s refreshing to see because too often movies feature some hot-headed parents who get mad and start yelling about situations out of their control. Not these guys. And frankly, movie parent drama can be stressful, so it’s comforting to see supportive folks just being there. It kind of makes you want to call your own parents.
5) It’s a surprisingly comforting post-breakup movie
The pain of heartbreak is perfectly and honestly expressed from the start of this film. Sometimes you can’t get out of bed. Sometimes you obsessively hope to run in to your ex, even though you know nothing good will come out of it. You don’t need to apologize for your pain. And, even though it doesn’t feel like it in the moment, the pain always goes away and new people come out of the woodwork when you least expect them to. It’s all about being brave and positive. As Donna’s father explains, negativity can either be your best friend or your worst enemy in life. Living, as he tells it, is the best way to approach your fears. So true.
Image courtesy of sundance.org.