The director of the new indie comedy Obvious Child, playing in select theaters now and opening wider this weekend, insists her movie isn’t a full-throated abortion defense.
A lot of journalists have used the shorthand ‘abortion comedy,’ but that makes it feel small,” said Gillian Robespierre, the film’s first-time director, who adapted the feature from her 2009 short. “We’re a romantic comedy about one character going through different challenges in her life.
Star Jenny Slate sang from the same hymnal recently, saying the film is “not an agenda movie in any way.”
Can you blame them?
Tagging the film as unabashedly pro-abortion could alienate some movie goers, and indie films need all the audience support they can get in the marketplace. Does it matter that Obvious Child is such a clear rant against the pro-life argument it should be beyond a reasonable debate? The film’s main characters sound like Planned Parenthood workers after a few stiff drinks. The storyline refuses to depict anything remotely harmful or negative about the abortion process save the social stigma.
So why are some movie critics, the same community eager to paint any faith-based film or pro-U.S. military feature as “propaganda,” pretending otherwise?
Consider TheWrap.com’s review, which takes the theme head on and spins like a top on the film’s behalf:
the only agenda that “Obvious Child” has is to be true and funny, and it succeeds impressively at both….Don’t let anyone scare you away from “Obvious Child” on political grounds; ultimately, this is a movie about life and how we live it. And how we sometimes tell embarrassing jokes about our drawers.
RogerEbert.com also tries to ignore the elephant in the screening room:
… the unfortunate buzz of being billed as the first “abortion comedy.” Those words are a bit misleading. “Obvious Child” is definitely a comedy, and it also deals with abortion. But the approach is not glib or casual … It touches on themes of arrested development, needing to grow up and to accept responsibility for who you are (both onstage and off, the film being about a standup comedian who uses her own life story in her act), but “Obvious Child” is not ponderous with these themes.
Now, consider the critical reaction to October Baby, a 2012 movie with a strong pro-life theme. The word “propaganda” appears repeatedly in the reviews. This reporter read a crush of Obvious Child reviews, and the word propaganda never crossed my computer screen.