What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Obvious Child is a compassionate, unconventional, and very funny indie dramedy about a twentysomething woman who must make a complicated decision after a break up and subsequent hook-up brings her to a crossroads. The film uses humor to explore mature themes, including unexpected pregnancy, modern-day romantic entanglements, and unemployment. Characters swear constantly (including the "f--k," "s--t," and much more) and drink, sometimes to the point of inebriation. There's no outright nudity, but expect plenty of frank talk and jokes about sex.
What's the story?
Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) is a talented twentysomething stand-up comedian whose precariously balanced life turns even wobblier when her boyfriend dumps her. The next few weeks are lost in a depressing, sometimes alcohol-fueled stupor, occasionally interrupted by stints at the beloved bookstore where she works (but whose owner has just announced that it's closing) and visits with her parents -- a business school professor (Polly Draper) and puppeteer (Richard Kind) -- who are worried about her future. But Donna's too busy trying to get over her ex to fret about where her life is going long-term. One night after a gig, she meets Max (Jake Lacy), a cute, kind, and un-hip graduate student. They get along famously, end up getting drunk together and falling into bed -- with results that complicate Donna's already crazy life even further.
Is it any good?
With deep empathy and lots of bold humor, OBVIOUS CHILD manages to be so many things at once. It's a celebration of female friendships (Gaby Hoffman is fantastic as Donna's honest, caring best friend); a heartfelt, authentic rendering of loving-but-rocky parent-child relationships post-college; and a smart, sassy story about a woman navigating thorny terrain when faced with an unexpected romance and the very real consequences of what at first was likely going to be a one-night stand. All of it's steeped in authenticity, without judgment or cliché.
The hilarious and very relatable Slate makes the movie, with great assistance from pretty much every other person cast in it (including David Cross' slimy turn as a fellow comic). The romantic plot is fairly predictable, but its wit more than makes it up for its shortcomings. Plus, director Gillian Robespierre steers clear of the usual tropes and captures what it's like to be indisputably an adult (Donna is years out of college), but debatably mature (she can barely make her rent).
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Obvious Child's messages. Do you think it's trying to persuade viewers to feel one way or the other about Donna's decision? Is it OK for a movie to be subjective about social issues?
Movies sometimes use humor to tackle difficult subjects. In what way does this film do so, and is it successful?
How does the movie handle Donna's struggle to arrive at a decision? Is she a relatable character?