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The many pro-abortion agendas “Obvious Child” serves

by | Jun 16, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

Jenny Slate, who plays Donna Stern, and director Gillian Robespierre

Jenny Slate, who plays Donna Stern, and director Gillian Robespierre

As we anticipated last week, the accolades for “Obvious Child”—the abortion “comedy”—are starting to roll in. How could it be otherwise when the film, directed by Gillian Robespierre and starring Jenny Slate as Donna Stern, serves to promote so many pro-abortion agendas and is so, so hilarious? (Heads up—“Obvious Child” is, we’re told, a “rom-com,” a romantic comedy.)

Writing for the Boston Globe, Matt Juul tells us, “Considering the predictable plots and fairy tale endings of most Hollywood romantic comedies, ‘Obvious Child’ is a refreshing take on the played out genre because it’s not only hilarious, but also unabashedly honest.”

If you read many critics, it less hilarious than it is honest. By honest they mean vulgar, tasteless on so many levels, and completely value-free. The film is a perfect example of what so many “feminists” tout as their birth-right. A kind of pre-adolescent liberation that springs from turning anything and everything—even the death of an unborn child—into a joke, made all the funnier by encasing it in sophomoric language that you’d expect in a senior high locker room.

As Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday writes (she loved “Obvious Child”) “Robes­pierre, like so many of her contemporaries, clearly sees profanity as a legitimate arrow in the quiver of liberation, a mode of bracing, confrontational candor that instantly disarms fusty structures of sexism and other depredations.” So, the fouler the mouth, the sturdier the challenges to “sexism and other depredations.”

Rachel Dry, also of the Post, loves the movie just as much. She writes

In addition to making a stigma-free movie about abortion, Robespierre, 35, also wanted to make one that gives viewers some of the gooey sweetness that people find so satisfying in romantic comedies.

“I would love it to be something people play all the time — on their sick day when they want to snuggle in bed and be comforted by their favorite romantic comedy,” Robespierre says.

And it does have a lot of what a sick-day rom-com viewer might want. A grand gesture. A big reveal. Perfectly timed flowers delivered by Max (Jake Lacy), the onetime and possible future romantic interest who is, in Slate’s description, a “sort of a bro, a handsome-face blond-hair nice-biceps business-school dude” who loves her character’s sense of humor.

The night before Donna is scheduled to have her abortion, she goes onstage, where she is funny, confident and operating on the edge of what it is comfortable to hear people talk about into a microphone. She tells the crowd exactly what is happening in that moment in her life.

Stigma-free; gooey sweetness; an empty-headed hunk (Max) who will support Slate’s decision; and the “freedom” to share the death of her child on stage. “Obvious Child” mocks the seriousness of what Stern is doing, in the process shattering what used to be called decorum, all in the service of producing a good movie that can be watched on a rainy afternoon. Third and finally

If it takes the death of a defenseless unborn child to help Stern make “wiser and more compassionate,” what a small price to pay for adulthood. Hornaday’s conclusion is what you could see telegraphed a mile away:

Through it all, even despite her crankiest, most selfish and adolescent moments, Donna earns the audience’s support, thanks largely to the inherent sweetness Slate brings to her screwed-up but lovable character. There are as many awkward, discomfiting sequences in “Obvious Child” as there are interludes of genuine fun and romance.

The result is a movie that feels risky and forgiving and, despite its traditional rom-com contours, refreshingly new. If we can stipulate that existence is an inherently messy affair, ungainly and contradictory and confoundingly unresolved, then “Obvious Child” may be the most pro-life movie of the year.

So if Donna is sufficiently “sweet” and if we understand that life is complicated and “cofoundingly unresolved,” presto, chango, the destruction of life becomes its affirmation—“pro-life.”

The child has served his or her purpose: Stern is wiser, her boyfriend is even more understanding than he was before, and they—but not their baby—live happily ever after.

What a message to send to young women and men. Irresponsibility and crudity and violence as fodder for a good movie.

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Categories: Abortion