Obvious Child (Blu-ray Review)

obvious childThere is a certain category that a film like Obvious Child could easily fit into, as it features a female comedian turning in a comedic/slightly dramatic performance in a small comedy about a struggling woman finding new love, while dealing with her current life situation.  This does not mean the film is inherently bad.  Just last year I had a lot of love for Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha, but the year before that I had a lot less love for Gerwig in Lola Versus.  Basically, films like this are of a certain type, but Obvious Child fit in a good way.  Now the critically acclaimed sleeper has hit Blu-ray, so I have even more to go into about it.


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The film stars Jenny Slate, writer/actress best known for her work on Saturday Night Live, along with many other TV credits.  Slate plays Donna Stern, a comedian in Brooklyn who is dumped by her boyfriend, only to go on to have a one-night stand with a nice guy, Max (Jake Lacy), and later find out she is pregnant.  Donna makes an executive decision on how to handle this scenario and the film follows the few weeks leading up to what she decides to ultimately do.

A lot of Obvious Child focuses on how Donna fits into her own life.  She is a comedian, but she is not exactly filling up rooms and prospering for the better.  She has friends who care for her and are supportive, but that only keeps her balanced, without sinking too low.  And now she has Max, who seems like a very out-an-out nice guy, but not one that Donna does not know how to best talk to.  The reason is quite clear, but the movie only does so much of a good job presenting them as a couple that is really meant to be together.  I like Jenny Slate quite a bit and Jake Lacy fits the kind of harmless male suitor role, but the film is easily more interesting when focused around other characters.

Gaby Hoffman’s role as Nellie, Donna’s best friend and one who has been through similar life issues adds a nice stable support to her life, as does Gabe Liedman as Joey, the typical ‘gay best friend’ character, who is still very funny and only wants to help Donna.  With Nellie in particular, Obvious Child finds a great way to present two women having honest conversations with each other that reflect life experience combined with natural-sounding dialogue.  I also enjoyed the role of Donna’s mother, Nancy, played by Polly Draper, whose arc is familiar, but affecting.  Richard Kind steps in as Donna’s father, but the movie seems to just kind of forget about him after a while.

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I would not call Obvious Child one of the more controversial releases of the year, but it stands to reason that it was able to gain some extra notoriety due to its matter-of-fact handling of abortion.  I was not offended or all that concerned about how that topic was handled, but I also am not one to focus my film reviews on that sort of thing.  With that in mind, from my perspective, there was a sort of refreshing look how this film chose to take on such an idea, without turning it into a storyline with deeper implications regarding politics or society.

Ultimately, Obvious Child comes down to whether or not you are entertained by Jenny Slate’s performance as Donna.  She nails a number of lines and awkward humor in a way that keeps the film entertaining in my eyes, while also selling some of the more dramatic beats in a way that makes sense, as far as seeing comedians do drama.  The film moves along at a decent pace and is a nice showcase for a director Gillian Robespierre, who has based this film on her own short film, of the same name.  Obvious Child is nothing flashy, but it is a good little film that deserves some attention.


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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail: Obvious Child is a softly lit film that lends itself to many moments that look good, be it outdoors or indoors.  The level of detail is very pleasing throughout, with a number of nicely presented surfaces, costumes, and other elements that come through just fine.

Depth: Depth is pretty great for what the film is.  A sense of space is noticeable in this fairly low-key neighborhood story.

Black Levels: Black levels are never bothersome. They register nicely.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is subdued, but it comes across nicely on this Blu-ray disc.  There is a neat sort of quality in the comedy club scenes, which puts up a spotlight and highlights the warmth of the colors featured, which does a fine job of representing how this film is low-budget, but nicely put together.

Flesh Tones: Flesh tones always have the right amount of detail and texture to make for a pleasing experience.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing spotted.



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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The lossless soundtrack is nice, but given what this film is, there is not a whole lot that really challenges a sound system.  That in mind, the sound presentation is fine here.

Low Frequency Extension: No crucial moments, but background music has some bass work to offer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Given that the more spread apart sound moments are based in mood, a fine job is done with the balance, even if there is not a ton of audio factors to keep track of.

Dialogue Reproduction: The most crucial part of this film and dialogue registers loud and clear throughout.



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For a little film like this, the Blu-ray has all you would really want.  The original short film, a decent making-of doc, and a solid commentary track.  It is always nice to see plenty of features, given the size of the film.

Features Include:

  • Extended Scenes (HD, 23:52) – Pretty straightforward, longer versions of existing scenes in the film.
  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Gillian Robespierre, Producer/Co-Writer Elisabeth Holm and Actress Jenny Slate – A solid commentary track that clearly features friends discussing a film together.
  • The Making of Obvious Child (HD, 24:39) – A good look at the making of the film, featuring interviews with the cast and crew.
  • 2009 Obvious Child Short Film (HD, 20:53) – The best inclusion in this section, as this was obviously the ‘proof of concept’ for making the full feature.


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Obvious Child is a pleasant little movie.  It makes a good case for Jenny Slate’s career as a solid actress in either comedies or dramas, while also handling various tropes of a film focused on relationships with some nice touches.  The Blu-ray is a pretty solid package as well, boasting above average technical qualities and enough features to keep fans very satisfied.  This is a nice film to check out, especially given the acclaim it received and how it managed to live up to it.

Order Your Copy Here:

obvious child


Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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