‘Obvious Child’ doesn’t take its subject seriously

Disclaimer: This is not a post about abortion rights, a subject I have strong opinions about, but will not discuss here.

This is a post about Hollywood’s treatment of young adults dealing with serious issues, and why it doesn’t work.

The plot for the upcoming film, Obvious Child, is pretty simple: adorkable young adult woman has a casual fling, and finds herself pregnant. Unlike other mainstream films with similar plot-lines (Juno and Knocked Up come to mind), abortion isn’t just mentioned as an option, but is the whole point.


This film is supposed to reduce the stigma of abortion by showcasing a normal, everyday woman who makes normal, everyday choices. Viewers are supposed to identify with her, perhaps sympathize, and cheer her on.

I couldn’t do that after watching the preview, and it has nothing to do with my being pro-life. What I saw in the preview was an overzealous attempt at creating an “average” woman, but I found her personality and actions so over-the-top that I really don’t care to follow her story.

While I appreciate movies with characters who have to make difficult life decisions, it turns me off to see heavy subjects dealt with so frivolously. I appreciate characters with spunk, but a subject as serious as abortion deserves a main character with more vulnerability and bravery. This may be a judgment made too quickly, but the point of a trailer is to garner interest. Seeing the protagonist portrayed so immaturely does not give me hope that the movie will treat the subject matter with the dignity it deserves (but okay, I did smirk at the line “I’m not the ornament at the top of the tree, I’m the menorah that burns it down.” The movie may have a few gems in it. I’m willing to be surprised).

Let’s face it, regardless of whether you’re pro-life or pro-choice, abortion is never an easy decision for anyone. I can’t imagine the conflicting emotions of being unexpectedly pregnant. I can’t imagine the fear of having to tell the father, who may or may not be supportive. If I’m going to pay to see an “abortion movie,” I want to see characters taking it as seriously as I would if it were myself, or a friend of mine in that situation. What I saw in the three-minute trailer does not convince me that I will be made to think any differently about abortion than I did when I walked into the theater.

Please, Hollywood. My generation is not completely made up of imbeciles who can only pay attention to an important subject if it’s inserted with sight gags and potty jokes.

I get it; quirky characters sell more tickets. And there’s nothing wrong with being quirky. But what is the point of this movie? To make pro-lifers like me more sympathetic to women who have had abortions? Then convince me by selling me a film that appears to take its subject seriously, because I’m not getting that vibe from this one.


4 thoughts on “‘Obvious Child’ doesn’t take its subject seriously

  1. The issue isn’t as simple as how “Hollywood” treats subject matter. Especially as it seems this is an independent film rather than a Hollywood one. The issue is the audience filmmakers are forced to market to. They don’t want to make anyone’s favorite film, they want to make a film everyone will spend their 10 bucks to see. This isn’t made for stupid people, this is made for the lowest common denominator of as many people as possible. You said yourself you’re not optimistic, but you intend to see the film anyway; this is probably the attitude a lot of people have, and this is what they, as business men trying to make a profit, want to take advantage of.

    If the current state of films bothers you, I’d advise you to look for films you support the making of, watch them, buy them, recommend them, and try to show the studios that someone, or many people, want more of those movies. Studios listen for that type of thing, and it’s something they really do respond to.


  2. Many pro-lifers actually are woman who have had abortions; the people who made this movie seem to think that if they present the woman as cute and funny, then abortion will become cute and funny. Or something. It probably won’t work.


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