The Feel-Good Abortion Movie of the Summer

by Jenni Miller

Opens today in theaters! The elevator pitch for Obvious Child is startlingly simple: Donna Stern (Jenny Slate), a 20-something comedian nursing a broken heart, has a drunken one-night stand with a stranger, gets knocked up, and has an abortion. The end. But the experience of watching the film is much more than the sum of its parts. Carrying the distinction of being one of the first ever pro-choice comedies, Obvious Child—which was a Sundance favorite—is also kind, brave, and exactly the sort of film you’d want to see with your BFFs. (Or even your mom, depending on how liberal she is.)

Jenny Slate’s breakthrough performance as Donna is squirmingly honest and vulnerable, even when she’s tossing off diamond-sharp one-liners. And while her stand-up sequences are largely self-deprecating and scatological, the emotions that move across her face like darkening clouds are unforgettable, especially when she drops her wisecracking facade. “I think I’ve cried on every train line,” she tells an audience at one of her stand-up shows, and those of us who’ve been there can instantly relate.

Obvious Child was first conceived (no pun intended) as a short film in 2009 written by Gillian Robespierre, Karen Maine, Elisabeth Holm, and (former BUST intern!) Anna Bean. And this full-length feature version—shot in only 18 days by Robespierre with funds provided by a Kickstarter campaign—is an incredible leap forward. Scrappy and subversive, it’s the kind of project that will give indie filmmakers, movie lovers, and feminists alike hope for the future.

–Jenni Miller

Obvious Child, directed by Gillian Robespierre, in theaters June 6.


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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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