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SXSW: Obvious Child Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 March 2014 23:58

          We first meet Donna Stern in what any national geographic commentator would call her, “natural habitat”. We immediately get to see her character’s type of comedy, and it is raunchy and slightly dry and something that usually isn’t associated with “ladies”. At the same time we meet her we also meet her boyfriend. His displeased face during her introductory routine sets the stage for their breakup, her subsequent “downward spiral”, and ultimately her unexpected pregnancy. 


          I enjoy when films disregard the three act structure and go with something that is more true to the story. In Obvious Child there is the beginning that keeps going, and the end that starts mid way. This structure works though because we stay central to one character. 


          When a woman is mentally worn or emotionally hurt it starts off unbearable and turns into stress for an audience. Her light hearted approach and way of coming off as cute somehow successful and rather than being bothered by her misfortunes we find ourselves rooting for this character. Both her parents want to be there for her, but they both approach her situation in different ways. The contrast that came with dealing with a dad who simply wanted her to smile and a mom who wanted to use her current situation as a wake-up call showed how her parents could be separated, and which side of the isle she chose to stand on. 


          A film like Obvious Child proves two very important thing. One, a woman comedian can lead a film without being overly eccentric or goofy to the point of overacting. And two, that a film like that can be enjoyable. Yes the cast is great, Jenny Slate (Donna) and Jake Lacy (Max, and more importantly Baby Tuna in The Office) act authentically, and Gillian Robespierre’s story came to life with her at the helm as director. What I saw more with the film is passion, a passion that only comes when money is a main factor, and there is no set audience or distributor for a film. A risk, one that produces a lot of shit film, also produces gems like Obvious Child.


          Her lack of taking anything really serious gives us the sense that no matter what she can start over and everything will be okay. I wish I had known about the film while the Kickstarter was active, I wouldn’t have donated, but it would have been cool to follow it. Obvious Child was an enjoyable film regardless of what the result is at the box office in a couple of months. 




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