Obvious Child opens in theaters across the country in June. Check here for cities and opening dates.

Going into Obvious Child, I had fairly high expectations. I knew the buzz was overwhelmingly positive, though I had actively tried to avoid any spoilers (other than the one fact everyone knew, which is — spoiler alert — that the main character has an abortion and the world doesn’t end). Other than that, though, my only preconceived notions were based on what I knew of Jenny Slate from her time on SNL and her turn as inherently awful Saperstein twin Mona-Lisa on Parks & Rec.

Things start out kind of rough for the first several minutes. After a somewhat lackluster stand-up routine, comic Donna Stern’s boyfriend admits to cheating with her friend and breaks up with her. Some standard rom-com shenanigans ensue — she’s losing her day job, drunk dialing and stalking the ex — and you wonder what the heck everyone was talking about, because this thing is shaping up to be terrible, and who on earth thought Jenny Slate could carry a movie anyway?

But don’t be too hasty. Enter Donna’s friends Nellie (Gaby Hoffman, Girls) and Joey (Gabe Liedman, Kroll Show), plus mom Nancy (Polly Draper, thirtysomething) and dad Jacob (Richard Kind, Mad About You), and things suddenly start to get real. As in, this isn’t Knocked Up, but a real story about real people doing plausible things and making day-to-day decisions. Frankly, it’s a breath of fresh air. As Slate eases into her role and the story develops, you begin to care what happens. You’re rooting for Donna when she meets and has a spark with Max (Jake Lacy, The Office). And you care what happens to her when, after a sweet but drunken one-night-stand and birth control fail, she becomes pregnant and opts for an abortion.

Hot button social issues aside (I’ll get to that in a minute), this is a good movie. Donna’s friendships, her easy relationship with her dad and strained interactions with her mom, her internal debate about whether to even tell Max she’s pregnant and aborting, and how to act around him when she clearly likes him but doesn’t know how to proceed; these are all things normal people can understand. There are laughs, yes, but they are from real moments, not absurd, unnaturally scripted rom-com tropes. You get the feeling you’re seeing how someone might deal with an unplanned pregnancy in real life, where there are no convenient miscarriages or mythical stoners-turned-stand-up-guys who want to co-parent. It’s obvious Slate and director Gillian Robespierre have approached this subject thoughtfully. It’s well cast, and a good movie in and of itself; but just as importantly, it’s about an issue worth discussing.

I almost hate having to have the “abortion issue” discussion, because the movie can stand on its own two feet as a worthy piece of cinema, and I worry that fact will be drowned out by the “issue” discussion. But abortion is probably the last taboo subject in our culture, and this conversation is desperately needed. People throw out a lot of rhetoric on this subject, probably without ever really thinking about it or bothering to engage on the subject with women who have experienced it. But in a world where approximately one in three* women will have an abortion at some point, you probably know one or more women who have had an abortion, and you probably don’t even know it. Abortion is a real issue, and whether or not to have one is a real decision that literally every pregnant woman has to make. This fact often gets lost in the “pro-life” party line rhetoric that’s tossed about loudly and without a lot of thought by the same people who are going to rage about this movie and its subject matter based on a secondhand plot summary, without ever actually watching it. They won’t be wrong on the broad strokes — Donna doesn’t consider any other options besides abortion; she does go through with the abortion; she doesn’t regret it; and she receives support for her choice from literally everyone in her life. There are no false positives, no convenient miscarriages, no agony of decision, nobody suffers. There’s just a woman making a decision about her body and her life that’s the best decision for her. I don’t think even I fully comprehend what a radical story this is to have told in the popular media.

I’ll spare you from a long diatribe about my personal opinions on the “abortion issue” and the sinister political games going on in Texas and beyond where women are concerned. But I urge you to see this movie — women AND men. Even if you consider yourself “pro-life,” I’d ask you to see it with an open mind. You may find parts of it disturbing; but if you do, just think about which of your friends is secretly the “one in three” that had to make this decision.

And to those of you who are here because, after all, this is a film website: just go see the damn thing because it’s real and funny and thought-provoking all at once. Wait out those first few minutes; you’ll be glad you did.

*Source: http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/facts/women_who.html

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