New Rom Com 'Obvious Child' Tackles Abortion Taboo

Friday, June 20, 2014

Actress Jenny Slate in the new film, "Obvious Child." (Sundance Film)

The conversation around abortion is usually reserved for political debates and protests, and it's a subject many filmmakers are reluctant to tackle on the big screen. Although unplanned pregnancies have emerged as a sort of sub genre in film—think "Juno" and "Knocked Up"—the abortion plotline exists only on the edge of Hollywood. 

But director Gillian Robespierre wanted to change that. Her new film, "Obvious Child," gives the taboo topic a more complex look.

“We felt the need to tell a story that has been silenced in our culture and in mainstream movies," Gillian said. "It has been told sort of on the peripheral, but it hasn't been a main story line in a feature film.”

"Obvious Child" follows 20-something Donna Stern, played by comedian Jenny Slate, as she struggles through adulthood with an off beat sense of humor. When a one-night stand leads to an unplanned pregnancy, she makes the choice to get an abortion. But the abortion does not define Donna, and in many ways it does not define the movie. 

Today on The Takeaway, Gillian and Jenny discuss their new film, and why Donna's story is both deeply individual and still inclusive.


Gillian Robespierre and Jenny Slate

Produced by:

Allie Ferguson and Kristen Meinzer


T.J. Raphael

Comments [6]

Jane from NY

I haven't seen it and probably won't because I don't want to contribute to the idea that abortion is ok. Maybe the topic has been unpopular because half of Americans believe it is wrong. Most opinion polls show around 50%. It seems like this character has or plans to have an abortion because she's too immature to raise a child. I wonder if it is considered that having the child (possibly to give up for adoption) is exactly what she needs to do to overcome her immaturity. Ultimately it isn't the critics who are silenced, it's the child(fictional of course but still).

Jun. 26 2014 02:26 PM
Ben from Westchester

This movie Obvious Child may or may not be worth seeing. I haven't seen it.

But opening a story with a quote about how an "abortion comedy" is new terrain for Hollywood is ridiculous.

Citizen Ruth (1996) was an early film by director Alexander Payne and is certainly a notable Hollywood abortion comedy from almost two decades ago. Great film, too.


Jun. 21 2014 10:31 PM

@Ed from Larchmont - that film already came out. It was called Life is Beautiful and it won three Oscars.

Jun. 20 2014 03:59 PM
Ed from Larchmont

I understand there's a situation comedy coming out, it's set next to a concentration camp during the war.

Jun. 20 2014 01:52 PM
Ed from Larchmont

I understand that the abortion isn't the center of the movie, but it's assumed she will have an abortion. It makes me think of the banality of evil. Would a movie be made alongside other grave and serious evils?

Jun. 20 2014 01:34 PM
John A

Talk of "pee-pee missiles" and much use of the little girl voice kinda makes no point about modern-age sex being either mature or responsible.

Jun. 20 2014 11:38 AM

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