Review of Obvious Child (#ObviousOvershare)

The film Obvious Child (2013), directed by Gillian Robespierre, provides an unapologetic and un-manipulative take on the topic of abortion.
Donna (Jenny Slate) is the protagonist who is in her late twenties but acts more as if she were under 25. She goes through a painful break-up and in the subsequent weeks, engages in unprotected sex with a nice stranger (Max) who eventually seeks her out and would like to build a more solid relationship with her. Donna gets pregnant and she is certainly not ready for motherhood; she still needs to take care of herself and turn into a full blown adult in the pace that she sees fit. Without hesitation, she decides she wants an abortion. She confides in a friend, and later on, in her mother. These in turn also confide in her about their previous experiences with terminated pregnancies.
When Donna goes to the Planned Parenthood clinic, she states it: she wants an abortion. The practitioner does not push her in any direction, reminding her that she has choices and that she has time to think it through. But Donna already has, and she says again what she wants, unambiguously.
Max does not disappear from Donna’s life after the one-night stand. At one point, he even tells Donna that he likes old couples who read the menu together and that someday he would like to be a grandfather. And there’s the genius of the film: just because he is a nice guy with potential to become a steady boyfriend (and perhaps life-long partner) for Donna, the movie does not veer into a formulaic route. He respects her decision. He accompanies her to the clinic the day of the procedure. Indeed, she is very lucky to find such an understanding guy, but the movie is not about getting the young woman paired-up, but rather, about the fact that it is her choice when and if to carry a pregnancy to term.
Oddly or interestingly, I saw an older woman yesterday on the bus who was carrying a “Women regret abortion” button. I am not sure if that woman had ever had one and regretted it. Forced abortion is not ethical. Forced pregnancy is not ethical either. Neither provide a choice, and moreover, by being forced, they dehumanize women by reducing them to mere reproductive vessels. Some women may regret abortion, especially if they were pressured to get one when it was against their will. But the idea that “women” in general do regret it, is untrue and dismissive of the fact that every individual woman should be allowed to make her own personal and reproductive choices.
I think what is most regrettable is not knowing what are the actual experiences of individual women and how their relationship with their mind and bodies evolve over their lifetimes.
In short, Obvious Child, is a refreshing take on the topic of abortion. It allows for individual women to take about such experiences openly and constructively.

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