(there will be talk of abortion, so if this is a sensitive subject for you, perhaps skip this review…)
I was absolutely thrilled to receive my first rom-com to review for Film Club 3.0. I generally have the mentality of a 16 year old boy in my choice of movies so romantic comedies are pretty far off of my radar. Not that I don’t enjoy a good sap-fest every now and again, but it’s not my go-to genre.
This film was a lovely little homage to a one night stand gone wrong. Let me rephrase that-it did go wrong, but in light of the situation, many things went right.
Donna is a stand-up comedienne. She’s a staple at open mic night at her local comedy bar. She’s known for her realness and shares her own life experiences. Understandably, some people appreciate her frankness and some balk at it. Turns out her boyfriend is not a fan. He dumps her, quite unceremoniously in the bar’s bathroom one night after a set for sharing details of their relationship. He seemed like a twat anyhow, but she of course is devastated.
As we all know, the sure fire cure for being dumped is spending as much time shit-faced as possible. That was sarcastic, but it does happen, especially in slightly formulaic rom-coms. Many a wine bottle is tipped back in an effort to forget the douche that dumped her and the result is less than funny, waaaaaay too TMI filled comedy sets told in a bitter drunken haze to a silent, baffled audience. So uncomfortable. Eeesh.
One night after a set, Donna meets a handsome, boyish student by the name of Max. He’s super sweet and they bond over peeing in an alley on the way back to his place. Thankfully, for her, Max was late to the bar and didn’t catch her sad sack of a ‘comedy’ set. Tipsy, they proceed to drink the night away and dance to classic songs and generally have a really good time. It was exactly what Donna needed to forget about being dumped and Max seemed like a genuinely good guy. Of course, in due time, they hook up. A classic one night stand. Did I mention that this movie was a bit formulaic?
I know that you will all be shocked to learn the key plot point. Are you sitting down? Donna gets knocked up. Wait, isn’t that another film? I digress…
Her path keeps crossing with Max, but she doesn’t know how to tell him, an almost complete stranger that she’s preggers. He is interested in her and gently pursues her, but her reluctance is clear and he has no choice but to misconstrue her reasoning. In a final, desperate attempt to tell him, she invites him to an open mic night, where she decides to spill it all on stage, which I found to be cringe inducing, but who am I to judge?
Not only does she tell him that she is pregnant on stage in front of another visibly uncomfortable crowd, but she also tells the world that she has decided to get an abortion. Through a series of unfortunate timing, she will have the procedure done on Valentine’s Day. He leaves the audience quietly and she assumes for good.
Now, as I mentioned, I am not a huge fan of romantic comedies. I am sure that I miss most of the subtle nuances that fans of the genre love. I know that there were moments of sweetness built up. I know that I was prompted to feel certain things for these two in their moment of unlikely coupling and ultimate life-changing circumstance. Abortion doesn’t shock or offend me. My beliefs on the subject are mine alone and I am not adverse to anyone’s views on the subject. To each his own, right? A decision was made by an adult woman who wasn’t ready to be a parent. She discussed it with those closest to her, but ultimately it was her decision. I was a bit surprised at how little this movie dwelled on the controversy surrounding the subject of abortion and I give it mad props for that. The abortion was treated more like a character and not a plot point. It wasn’t celebrated or reviled. It just was. That was kind of refreshing. It’s not a subject to be taken lightly by any means, but it is a very personal decision and this movie played that point perfectly. It was one persons point of view and whether you agree with it or not, it really wasn’t up for discussion.
I am happy to report that Max, our adorable love interest, supported her decision whole-heartedly. It was clear that he had feelings for her and wanted to build a relationship with her. It could have gone 100 different ways, but he accepted her decision, supported it and was there for her during and afterwards. I don’t mean to sound insensitive or flip, but the way in which we leave this couple is the way in which most people who have gone through such a personal ordeal would only dream of it turning out. No judging. Only love and support. The comfort of knowing that it might just be okay. It was over-idealized for sure, but who among us that has never been through such an event knows how we would react exactly? Those that have gone through it, have their own story.
We leave our couple on a couch, holding hands all snuggled up and watching “Gone With the Wind” mere hours after Donna has the abortion. It ends abruptly and you are left to make your own assumptions for their future.
I would recommend this film, with the caveat that you do consider the subject matter. It was at it’s heart sweet and hopeful and if you watch it in the spirit in which it was presented, I think a good message can be taken away.