Gillian Robespierre, the feminist director of the abortion comedy Obvious Child, is not a fan of Fox News, as she revealed in an interview with Matt Juul Wednesday in the Boston Globe.
Asked about sexism and feminist hashtags on Twitter, she said "like, I’m watching a lot of CNBC and Fox News in these [expletive] hotel rooms and it’s just making my head spin. It just makes me really sad. It doesn’t feel like we’ve come too far, but then it feels like we have come far because we’re talking about it right now." It makes her have violent thoughts about the people on Fox:
ROBESPIERRE: We’re talking about sexism on Fox News, those people’s heads talking that I want to punch, but it is still a discussion and people are getting really mad. I’m wondering, is that because the movement, the women’s movement, has come very far?
But then, there’s a part of me that doesn’t really believe that because sexism is so rampant and this freak accident, which is not an accident, but this freak moment in our history is just really scary. But the hashtag thing, because we do interviews all day and screenings all night, I haven’t been going on Twitter that much or Facebook either. But I’m excited that people are feeling empowered by such a horrific event instead of feeling meek.
BOSTON.COM: What do you hope audiences come away with after they’ve seen the film?
ROBESPIERRE: I just want it to stick with them the way my favorite movies stick with me, and I think about them for years. That’s really all I want — and a fur coat.
In Friday's Washington Post, features editor Rachel Dry promoted the abortion comedy as telling "its abortion story with humor, not polemics."
“We hadn’t seen a feature film talk about it in a way that lifted the stigma and let it be complex and let it be difficult and let it be also safe and actually end with the abortion procedure,” where the main character is “not filled with shame and regret,” Robespierre says of abortion on film.
So that is the movie she made.
One quiet scene toward the end of the film does a lot of work in conveying that message.
It’s in the recovery room at Planned Parenthood, after Donna has had the procedure. A range of women, some young, some bored, one sporting a huge engagement ring, sit quietly in gowns and hospital booties. It’s a moment of “relief and recovery together and not feeling isolated or alone,” Robespierre says.
“The bootie shot,” she calls it....
In addition to making a stigma-free movie about abortion, Robespierre, 35, also wanted to make one that gives viewers some of the gooey sweetness that people find so satisfying in romantic comedies.
“I would love it to be something people play all the time — on their sick day when they want to snuggle in bed and be comforted by their favorite romantic comedy,” Robespierre says.
And it does have a lot of what a sick-day rom-com viewer might want. A grand gesture. A big reveal. Perfectly timed flowers delivered by Max (Jake Lacy)...
He shows up with flowers just before the abortion. Is this a feminist's idea of the kind of movie you snuggle in bed and watch, the happy abortion repeated over and over again, like a lovely memory? These people are dead serious about trivializing the "termination" of an unborn baby. In the film, the lead character, a female comedian played by Jenny Slate, tells a crowd that she's getting an abortion the next day, expecting that it's the makings of great comedy. Slate thinks this subject can be hilarious:
If someone had told a story like that at the comedy show in Brooklyn that Slate used to run, how does she think it would have gone over?
She thinks about it for a bit.
“If that person was funny, then it would have gone over well. I think the rules apply. If it’s funny, it’s funny.”
Robespierre mulls this question too.
“If I [watched] Donna perform that bit, or anyone perform something that seems maybe too confessional but then they bring you in because it’s heartfelt and touching, I would probably be crying,” Robespierre says.
Slate agrees: “Oh, I would be crying, but I would be loving it.”