Quiz: Is this still from
a) Jenny Slate’s new short Eff-You you Effing Eff-wad?
b) a promo from the 2009 Quirkfest Filmfest?
or c) Juno II: All Grown Up?
It’s actually from Obvious Child, a short film by Gillian Robespierre which combines a little of all of the above, but with one major difference: it’s a funny, well-made movie that deals with unplanned pregnancy. (Spoiler alert: she gets an abortion and doesn’t think twice about it!)
As someone who found very little to love about Juno (I guess it was kind of cool when Jennifer Garner was like, “Fuck this.”?), and felt sooo uncomfortable when everyone around me was laughing while Katherine Hegel’s character cried at the doctor’s office in Knocked Up, it was a real breath of fresh air to watch Obvious Child.
Just over 20 minutes long, the film follows Donna through her break-up, hook-up, and its aftermath. One of the best things about the movie is that it’s not about abortion (I lied in the blog title). It’s just a hipster romantic comedy and it’s a good ten minutes in before any whiff of unplanned pregnancy surfaces. Abortion as a major plot point, but not the serious, underlying crux of the movie is just the kind of mainstream media exposure abortion needs. It’s presented as a viable option for unplanned pregnancy, the clinic isn’t presented as a scary unprofessional office (JUNO!), and the political points are subtle–but present–and not too heavy-handed (like when Donna’s mother describes her own illegal abortion).
Another win over Juno: the dialogue’s quirky, but it doesn’t sound forced or unnatural. Besides nonchalantly talking about handjobs and POWs eating poo to survive, Donna bluntly tells people she’s getting an abortion. There are no euphamisms, no beating around the bush, and definitely no “schmaschmortions.” It was really refreshing to finally hear that word, especially spoken by the woman who’s getting one.
So here’s to a well-made, funny, and not preachy movie about abortion for once! Oh yeah, did I mention it stars Jenny Slate? And that it has not one, but two versions of Paul Simon’s “The Obvious Child”?
Also, if you’ve got another twenty minutes lying around afterwards, I highly recommend Robespierre’s other short film, Chunk, which casts a cycnical look at fat camp through the eyes of a fed up girl who does not want to be there for all the right reasons. Like Obvious Child, it combines funny, awkward interactions with social commentary.