Lindsay Pugh joins Seventh Row Podcast hosts Alex Heeney and Orla Smith for a discussion of two rom-coms about unwanted pregnancies, Ninjababy and Obvious Child.
This episode features Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Executive Editor Orla Smith, and Contributing Editor Lindsay Pugh
Ninjababy (Yngvild Sve Flikke, 2021)
In its portrayals of sex, womanhood, motherhood, and pregnancy, Ninjababy is a refreshingly subversive film. With Rakel (Kristine Kujath Thorp), Flikke creates a female character who loves sex and has no interest in motherhood. Rakel discovers she’s pregnant six and a half months in — too late for an abortion. Flikke immediately challenges our expectations of what a pregnant woman’s body looks like by showing that some women, like Rakel, don’t grow a huge stomach during pregnancy. What follows is a tumultuous and stressful pregnancy, as Rakel works out what to do with the rapidly growing foetus that she didn’t even know she was carrying. Give it to an adoption agency that won’t let her have a say on which family the baby ends up with? Offer it to her older half-sister, Mie (Silya Nymoen), who had previously tried unsuccessfully to conceive with her partner? Or leave it with the father, a casual hookup nicknamed Dick Jesus (Arthur Berning) by Rakel and her flatmate, Ingrid (Tora Christine Dietrichson).
Ninjababy is available on VOD in the UK, and will be released on VOD in North America sometime in 2022 (Date TBD).
Obvious Child (Gillian Robespierre, 2014)
Gillian Robespierre’s film stars Jenny Slate as Donna, a late 20s comedian. She earns her living at a local bookstore, which is about to close down forever, leaving her unmoored. And when the film begins, her boyfriend dumps her after revealing he’s been cheating on her with her close friend. Into this mess walks the sweet Max, played by the wonderful Jake Lacy, whom Donna meets on a night of heavy drinking, and when they hit it off, she goes home with him and has sex. Three weeks later, she discovers she’s pregnant and to add insult to injury, she has no insurance and no money. She quickly procures an abortion appointment at Planned Parenthood. But in the intervening weeks, she keeps running into Max and, slowly but surely, a connection forms only he still doesn’t know she’s pregnant. Part rom-com, part coming of age, part look, abortion is a normal thing that women do film, this film feels like it laid the groundwork for films to come like Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always.
Obvious Child is available on VOD and streaming on Kanopy in the US
On this episode of the podcast: Ninjababy and Obvious Child
- Our upcoming Joachim Trier ebook (1:23)
- Related episodes (2:55)
- Why we are talking about these films (7:30)
- Obvious Child (11:40)
- The rom-com landscape of 2014 (16:59)
- Obvious Child‘s depiction of women’s bodies (18:02)
- How has Obvious Child aged? (26:55)
- Ninjababy (36:53)
- The men of Ninjababy (54:08)
- The caveats of Ninjababy (1:07:49)
- Conclusion (1:17:11)
- Read Alex’s 2014 review of Obvious Child
- Read Lindsay’s interview with Saint Frances director Alex Thompson and writer-star Kelly O’Sullivan
- Read Orla’s interview with Ninjababy writer-director Yngvild Sve Flikke and actress Kristine Kujath Thorp
- See our 50 favourite films of the 2010s.
- Sign up for updates on the first book to ever be published on the films of Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier
- Ep. 36: Abortion on screen and Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Members Only)
- Ep. 54: Kris Rey’s thirtysomethings: I Used to Go Here and Unexpected (Members Only)