“Obvious Child,” a fresh and funny chronicle of a one-night stand with consequences, is quickly racking up some of this year’s best word of mouth, with a major expansion slated for June 27.
Distributor A24 picked up the comedy at Sundance, then opened it June 6 to the highest per-screen average in the country. Expanding to 18 theaters in its second week, total gross is more than $260,000.
Though it’s being billed as an abortion comedy, the film, which stars Jenny Slate (“House of Lies”) as a Brooklyn woman rebounding from a breakup, is less concerned with reproductive rights than it is with a woman’s right to laugh.
“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.”
Pro-choice and pro-life groups are claiming the movie as either an important feminist statement or a dangerous piece of propaganda.
Though groundbreaking 1970s TV show “Maude,” for instance, showed a character terminating a pregnancy without judgment, recent films such as “Juno” and “Knocked Up” ended in the delivery room.
“It’s such a complex choice and such a private choice, and we’re not allowed to talk about it,” Robespierre said. “There’s a lot of shame that our culture puts on female sexuality and reproductive choices. One movie won’t change all that, but we did want something that was realistic.
“We don’t make jokes about abortion,” she added. “We’re not trying to push envelopes or buttons. The laughter is earned.”