venerdì 27 marzo 2015

Obvious Child

As you know, I like writing in this blog about great movies made by women (and you don’t come across them every day, because - let’s face it - cinema is a very male profession). 
The other night, I finally watched in DVD a movie that I was sorry to have missed in cinemas: Obvious Child by Gillian Robespierre
The movie's plot intrigued me a lot, as well as the actress playing the main character (Jenny Slate) and, well, I have to say my cinematographic sixth sense was right.
What a brilliant movie is this! 

Donna Stern is a twenty-something living in Brooklyn.
She has kind of a job (she works in a local bookstore that is about to close) but her real passion is being a stand-up comedian in a Williamsburg club. Freshly dumped by her boyfriend (the fact that she is making jokes in public about their sex-life maybe didn’t help!), Donna has a one night stand with a complete (even if cute) stranger and she incidentally got pregnant (put the blame on the booze). 

No job, no boyfriend, no money: she knows this is not exactly the best moment in her life to have a baby, and so she decided to have an abortion. Unexpectedly, the stranger comes back looking for her. He quite liked her and he would like to have a proper date. Confused by the events in her life, Donna tries her best to be the independent woman she always claimed to be. It won’t be easy but she will manage!
It is SO refreshing to see movies with complex, funny, smart, weird, real female characters. 
What a relief to realize that they exist, they’re out there, not only in the world but also on the screen. Donna is not one of those stereotyped women the cinema is plenty of: she is not perfect, she is so far away from being perfect, she is messy, she's funny in a very particular way (her monologues at the club are hilarious as much as sacrilegious) and this is exactly why we like her so much. Donna is one of us. She is not stunningly gorgeous but she has a lot of personality and she sees the world in her own way. 
But by far, the most interesting thing of this movie, is the way the theme of the abortion is treated. 
I sincerely don't remember to have seen something like this before on screen.
Donna is of course devastated by the idea of making an abortion, but she goes through the whole experience simply being herself (read: with a lot of humour). She knows she got pregnant in a very stupid way (but, hey, shit happens in life) and she also knows that to keep the child is not an option for her, so she does what she thinks is the right thing to do for her, without being apologetically about it. And I have appreciated that immensely, because there is always a moment when a moral judgment pops up in movies, but not in this one.
To give you an idea of the "tone", the day before the abortion Donna is about to go on stage and her best friend (the great "Transparent" Gaby Hoffman) tells her: 
I'm sure you're going to kill it out there! 
And Donna replies: I actually have an appointment to do that tomorrow morning.
After Stella Gibson from The Fall, Donna Stern is my new idol.
I hope there will be an army of this kind of women ready to invade our screens.
It would be about time, don't you agree?

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