Rom-coms are a varied genre. Especially when it comes to quality (case in point: comparing New Year’s Eve with You’ve Got Mail).
But despite their often happy-clappy endings, they don’t just deal in chocolates and roses.
Rom-com plot devices include separation (The Break-Up), divorce (It’s Complicated), unplanned pregnancies (Juno and Knocked Up), comas (While You Were Sleeping), mental illness (Silver Linings Playbook), death (Death at a Funeral), and loss of love and desire (Hope Springs).
But one plot device you likely haven’t seen in a rom-com recently, is abortion.
But that’s about to change. Director and screenwriter Gillian Robespierre created a short film five years ago about a 20-something woman who decides to get an abortion. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the short film has now been expanded into a feature length film.
Robespierre says she wanted to create a film about what happens when a woman gets pregnant – but realises she’s not ready to be a parent.
“It was my frustration about the portrayal of real women going through real problems and unplanned pregnancy is one of them,” Robespierre told Salon. “There was a slew of movies in 2007 which I enjoyed, but they all dealt with unplanned pregnancy with having the baby at the end. And it wasn’t the story that rang true to me or people that I knew.”
Obvious Child is the antithesis of films like Juno and Knocked Up. It’s a film about what happens when a woman decides not to keep a baby.
Importantly, Robespierre says this is also a film where abortion “doesn’t leave an emotional scar.”
In the film, the main character Donna is a stand-up comedian whose life is a mess. She’s going through a break-up. She’s on the verge of unemployment. She’s living between the houses of her divorced parents. She feels, basically, that she’s not in any position to become a single mother.