Gillian Robespierre, USA, 2014, 84 min.
Obvious Child is a rare treat. A film full of indie-spirit, real humor, and small moments of truth and beauty. That’s a lot to say about what appears to be a small romantic-comedy about a young commedienne who deals with the consequences of getting pregnant from her one-night stand.
Jenny Slate is the star, and really carries the film with her natural performance. Whether she is up on stage doing comedy, goofing around with her friends, or having a private moment with her father or mother, she always feels real. Nothing is ever forced in the acting or the writing.
The film does the broad strokes right. Pace and story, character arcs, and an ending that works really well by not taking a more obvious and dreadfully melodramatic turn. But it’s the little things that make this film shine. The true moments. Jenny eating spaghetti with her father (Richard Kind), for example, feels completely real and unscripted.
But the best part of the film is Jenny Slate’s Donna, a genuinely funny character that doesn’t use humor as a crutch, or to hide shortcomings, or in place of character depth. Credit goes to both Slate and writer/director Gillian Robespierre for creating a character that is real and funny and easy to relate to. A character that feels like she exists in the real world.