OMG YOU GUYS.
I saw Obvious Child last night at the BFI and it was so very amazing. I will try my very hardest to do it justice in this blog post – but it might be tricky – it was just so good. Here’s the embarrassing bit: I actually sobbed a bit in the middle of it, not out of prompted sadness, but because I was so relieved to be watching something that spoke so honestly to me (and other 20 somethings in the audience I’m sure). It’s like when a mate gives you really good advice and you well up and hug them. I want to hug Jenny Slate and be mates and stuff.
Since GIRLS exploded onto the scene nothing else really moved or inspired me in terms of women talking about ACTUAL IRL THINGS on the big screen – plus having a cool, down-to-earth, fun-loving females taking back control of the script. PHEW, basically. It was interesting in the Q&A most of the comments included a “thank you” to the cast and the director. Thank you for making the film. THANK YOU ON BEHALF OF ALL 20-SOMETHING WOMEN TRYING TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY IN COMEDY. (Ooooooh, an oxy-moron.)
With all of the press surrounding women, female comedians, the tokenistic decision of just sticking “one woman” quota on every TV comedy panel, films like Obvious Child are so so important. They are like diamonds in the rough, needing to shine through all of the stereotypical bullshit and Hollywood “blockbusters” that cater to old-fashion rituals and ideals. The girls in this film chat to each other on the loo, having embarrassing sex moments, snuggle their best mates in bed, drink a bottle of vin rouge to themselves. Just like all the girls I know, basically.
Obvious Child isn’t just a film that was made for the fun of it (maybe that too)– but it was a film that actually needed to be made. A comedy about abortion, you say? How many films can you say that about?? I feel like if my grand-children watched it in how-ever-many-years-time I’d be able to explain to them all of the struggles of being a woman in this millenium that often seem too mundane to talk about seriously. But all of those struggles are proper things that need to be discussed and not trivialized, or glamourized. It’s hard out here for a bitch.
So here are some of the reasons I cried with happiness during the film:
- It focuses on the experiences surrounding abortion (but not just the abortion): Abortion is a thread woven throughout the film’s narrative. It’s not like you sit down and it’s like “BOOM. ABORTION” right in your face. It’s about a twenty somethings life, career, love-life, family, friends – with the fact that she gets accidently pregnant. It’s so touching and real and I think everyone in the cinema – male or female – could relate to the variation of emotions on display.
- It all started as a short film in 2009, filmed on weekends: THIS INSPIRED ME LOADS! Five years ago, Gillian Robespierre wrote the script and made it as a 23 minute short – they all had other full-time jobs (you know the drill) and worked on it in weekends. They then used Kickstarter to help fund the full feature. WE CAN DO ANYTHING.
- The girls are hilarious IRL: The Q&A after the film was amazing. Gillian and Jenny were so so funny off camera. Sometimes this is a scary expectation when comedians have to be SUPER LOLS in real life. They weren’t try-hard though, they were just naturally very very funny women. Confident. Snarky. Rude. I want to go to the pub with them every night, forever.
- The stand-up comedy in the film IS REALLY GOOD: Jenny Slate, the comedian/actor that plays Donna, is really good at being on stage doing jokes. Now don’t grill me on this but sometimes I don’t find female comedians funny. Just like I don’t find all men so I’m not being a dick. I just haven’t identified with many female stand-ups yet. And to be fair many thats because I haven’t discovered enough. I found her really hilarious, confident, not too try hard. Just straight up funny.
- It has elements of classic rom-com: Like Notting Hill and Love Actually it caters to the gushy heart-warming bits that make you want to hug a teddy bear. Yes it’s technically an indie film but I loved the fact that they included some classic “romantic comedy” techniques. Like the “bumping into each other on the street” that we’ve seen in so many other rom-coms. It was the perfect mixture.
- It’s raw and well-produced: This is a proper feature film with budgets and famous actors and what have you. But when you’re watching it you feel like you’re just watching some mates just live their lives rolling around NYC. I like this quote from Jenny that sums up how relatable this film is: “I liked Knocked Up a lot, and I liked Juno and Waitress. But they are the reason why we made this movie as a reaction. I enjoyed watching them, but it didn’t ring true to me.”
- There was the cutest bits of improvisation: Although Gillian said the script was rather tight, they said there were bits of improv that gave that extra something to it. With Max’s character, his comedy shone through on bits of the dialogue that I don’t think would have worked it is was completely scripted. “You’re really hittin’ that bread”.
- She has a job in the film! Omg you guys, someone in a film with a job! I have this thing where I always look to see in a movie if the characters have a) an actual job b) you actually seem like doing the job. I know it’s not overly “cinematic” to watch someone doing shitty paperwork but to me it makes me more realistic that they’re people and we’re watching their lives. She has a job at a bookshop that helps her pay her rent. It makes me like her character more – and believe in her more.
- Gabby FRICKING. HOFFMAN: Gabby! GABBY! GABBBBBY. She was so good in this. There’s a bit where she rants and raves about feminism in a very VERY humorous yet scary way.
- The men weren’t stereotyped: The main character could have been extreme in one way or another, or douche who didn’t give a shit about her – or shallow – or just floated in and out. But he wasn’t. He was just a really cool and nice guy.
OH I LOVED THIS FILM SO MUCH. Alright, alright I know. I need to get a room.