Obvious Child

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Obvious Child Movie Poster Image
Smart, irreverent, edgy romcom about complex choices.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 83 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

When you find yourself in a bind, trust yourself to figure out what to do, and reach out to others when you need help. If you make a mistake, accept that there are consequences, and deal with them.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Donna may sometimes appear insensitive, but she uses humor to mask her fears. Although she makes some mistakes (like having a drunken one-night stand without protection), she's also committed to her art, loves and respects her parents (and vice versa), and appreciates her friends. Her parents may sometimes push her to be ambitious but are supportive overall. Max is a sweetheart through and through. There's no villainizing of either gender, here.


Some yelling and screaming.


Lots of raunchy talk about body parts and sex (mostly jokes), and some kissing and making out in underwear, but no nudity. The fall-out of an unexpected pregnancy (after unsafe sex) is at the heart of the movie.


Very frequent use of every swear word in the book, including "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "p---y," "c--t," and more.


Some logos seen, mainly an Apple computer and iPhone. Some brands are also mentioned, including Kia, Eileen Fisher, and Tylenol PM.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of drinking in bars, with one scene showing a woman, who's upset at having been dumped, downing shots and swigging liquor from an open bottle. A major plot point develops because the characters get so inebriated that they have unprotected sex.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySpirit88 August 30, 2020

Love letter to the abortion culture

The story surrounds a young and single struggling stand up comedian. It does a decent job of outlining how the bad parts of a person's twenties, find the... Continue reading
Adult Written byGardengrl May 16, 2015

Just sad

This movie was a huge disappointment. The main character gets dumped, has a one night stand and then decides upon an abortion. The jokes in the movie are real... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byB-KMastah June 29, 2014

Refreshing, funny, sad, and sweet.

Much like Bridesmaids and Frances Ha, this movie revels in its female-centric humor and self-confidence. It's funny, sweet, and kind, mostly due to Jenny S... Continue reading

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).

Talk to your kids 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?

Movie details

  • In theaters: June 6, 2014
  • On DVD or streaming: October 7, 2014
  • Cast: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy
  • Director: Gillian Robespierre
  • Studio: A24
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 83 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language and sexual content
  • Last updated: March 13, 2020

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