Out Now – 29th August 2014

Obvious Child

Let’s Be Cops
One third of the cast of New Girl star in an appalling looking comedy about two guys who pretend to be cops. That’s it, there’s your plot.

As Above, So Below
A team of explorers go poking around underneath Paris and find all manner of spooky goings on near the gates to hell. When I visited Paris I was satisfied with a trip up the Eiffel Tower but each to their own.

If I Stay
Emotional book adaptation that doesn’t star Shailene Woodley, where were you Shailene?! A girl is forced to decide whether to live or die during an out-of-body experience. Her body is in a coma while her spirit does sufficient acting to fill a feature film.

Night Moves
Dull and uninspiring thriller about three environmentalists who want to blow up a dam and do so. The characters and emotions were a little too subtle for me and what some might fight brooding I found boring. Some reviewers bloody loved it so what do I know?

Million Dollar Arm
Jon Hamm goes to India in search of future baseball stars and instead finds out that people can be valuable in ways that don’t generate millions of dollars. A two-hour Disney sports movie. Eeesh. An American in India! Whatever next!

The Grand Seduction
A small island has to convince an American doctor to stay so that they can build a factory or some such nonsense. Confusingly the island in the trailer appears to be in Ireland but is in fact in Newfoundland which is some kind of Canadian island filled with English, Irish, French, and Scottish immigrants. I’m baffled.

Mystery Road
Australian thriller in which an “indigenous detective returns to the Outback to investigate the murder of a young girl.” I’ve heard good things and Australian crime dramas are so hot right now.

Obvious Child
The best decision you could make at the cinema this week would be buying a ticket to see this gem. To quote myself; “I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed Obvious Child. It is the rarest of cinematic creatures; a romantic comedy that has something to say.” Prepare to love Jenny Slate and wonder why more films can’t be about real women.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
German 1920s horror about one scary piece of furniture. Probably the first horror film every made this is the direct root of every scream you have released whilst in the dark cocoon of the cinema.

The Guvnors
“The Guvnors is a violent thriller set amongst the clans and firms of South East London, bringing two generations together in brutal conflict.” As I currently live in South East London I prefer to not watch any films that aim to highlight the constant peril I am living in. Admittedly my life is less like a violent thriller and more like an episode of Spaced with gentler pace.

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz
“The story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz, who took his own life at the age of 26.”

Obvious Child – Film Review

Obvious Child

Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) is twenty-something young woman whose life slowly unravels after a successful stand-up gig when her boyfriend unceremoniously breaks up with her in the toilet. With her romantic life in tatters Donna turns to booze for solace and after crashing and burning on stage finds herself in bed with the overly sweet Max (Jake Lacy). One evening of poor contraceptive application later and woman-child Donna is with child. Accepting that she is in no position to have a baby Donna decides to have an abortion but one question remains; should she tell Max?

Obvious Child is a lot of things. It is hilarious. It is sweet. It is important. It is filthy. It is real. It is strident. It is subtle. It is probably the best comedy you will see this year. What Obvious Child is not is an “abortion comedy”. Abortion is not treated in a trivial way and is certainly not the most important element of the film but with abortion being such a heavily debated topic it is the aspect that has been discussed the most. Let’s get that out of the way for now. Obvious Child doesn’t glorify or condemn abortion but simply seeks to show it as a valid choice, something Knocked Up didn’t even consider. From the reaction of female audience members, that of gratitude and tears, this simple treatment of a serious issue is an important step forwards.

As I said before Obvious Child is not actually about the abortion but is about Donna’s relationships with her parents, her friends, her Max, and mostly her relationship with herself. This is the story of a woman finding the strength inside to take control of her life and not just coast through situations. This is a story about friendship, love, and actually listening to the advice your parents try to offer you. Donna is surrounded by a wonderful support network and her falling highlights how happy they are there to catch her. It is also important to note that Donna ultimately saves herself and while romance is a potential outcome it is not the love of a good man that serves as her goal.

Obvious Child - Jenny Slate & Jake Lacy

This might make it all seem a little too serious or worthy but let me tell you that from its opening scene, one of Donna performing stand-up, Obvious Child is ridiculously funny. I have a habit of hooting when a joke makes me lose my self-control and reveal my true laugh and I let out a few too many hoots while watching Jenny Slate give her career-defining performance. Though many modern romantic comedies are filled with unrelatable characters and situations Obvious Child is steeped in reality and all the muck and laughter that comes with it. For the time you spend watching the film Donna is your best friend; she makes you laugh, she makes you cry, and you desperately want her to get her shit together. She’s not perfect but she is far too much fun to be around for this to matter.

As for the romantic side of things let’s just say that Jake Lacy’s Max will be on everyone’s Christmas lists this year. Max manages to be the ideal man and remain human by simply being nice and fun to be around. The idea of a film featuring an abortion may not sound like a romantic classic but rest assured that Obvious Child wouldn’t be the worst choice for a date movie. Unless you’re Todd Palin of course.

If nothing else Obvious Child is a showcase for previously uncelebrated talent from the dramatic and comedic prowess of Slate to the writing and direction of Gillian Robespierre. Robespierre has an eye for unobstructive direction and writes dialogue, with co-writers Karen Maine and Elisabeth Holm, that feels real enough to be non-fiction.

I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed Obvious Child. It is the rarest of cinematic creatures; a romantic comedy that has something to say and says it in a way that will make you laugh unattractively.

A must-see Obvious Child is in UK cinemas from tomorrow.