This film has already made the round of the feminist blogsphere thanks to Amanda Marcotte discovering it last week, but I thought it was worth another post here. In 21 minutes, Gillian Robespierrre with help from new SNL cast member Jenny Slate and others, writes a cute, funny, "quirky" film about a one night stand that ends in… abortion. It’s a very similar set-up to "Knocked Up", particularly the antics at the bar which lead to the fateful coupling.
Slate’s character gets pregnant after using low-quality free condoms during her night of post-breakup sex with a stranger from a bar. She immediately jokes about the standard storyline when she finds out she’s pregnant: "First I’m going to find him and get his name, then I’m going settle down and start a family," she says sarcastically, before asking her friend: "Be my date to my abortion?" She also receives encouraging words from her mom, who tells her about her own abortion, pre-Roe. The characters are neither militantly feminist nor glib about the reality of abortion, but nor are they morally torn about it. The story is a fictional counterpart to the abortion blogs that have been cropping up: an honest, non-loaded look at what it’s really like for women.
Whether or not this film is poignant to the viewer will depend on his or her sensibilities. And whether or not the film’s hipster-humor is too specific or icky for some, bloggers writing about "Obvious Child" have nailed its point: a film about an accidental pregancy does not have to have one outcome–keeping the pregnancy–to work narratively, have a happy ending, or be funny. Abortion can work as a plot device. Hopefully the film will inspire others to stick the Planned Parenthood clinic back into the fabric of film, as it’s a part of the fabric of life.
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