five films about eschewing parenthood

by kylie maslen

parenting films frankie

Do your parents heckle you endlessly about their desire for grandkids? Are you constantly spending weekends at the baby showers of high school friends? Here are five films to use as justification for your baby-making reluctance the next time someone asks, "Are you planning on starting a family anytime soon?"

First of all, this cast is incredible. The four lead female roles (I KNOW) are played by Joan Cusack, Catherine Keener, Frances McDormand and Jennifer Aniston. I want to roll around in that line-up and then ask them to be my friends and mentors. Weird? Maybe. Aniston plays Olivia, the one single friend remaining in the group. The other three are in relationships wrestling the responsibilities of parenthood, what it’s like to actually have money, and other such grown up things, while Olivia is still working out who she wants to be. This underrated gem examines whether parenting and materiality really equate to happiness, aka patriarchal capitalism’s a bitch, baby!

No single movie has made me more vigilant about my contraceptive choices than this Judd Apatow film. First of all, the central story is that Alison (played by Katherine Heigl, naturally) becomes pregnant from a one-night stand. Which is the sort of catastrophising my therapist tells me isn’t useful, but has she seen a beautiful successful woman become entwined with a character played by Seth Rogen? Has she? Secondly, it contains the most visceral birthing scene you wish you never saw. I love you, Mirena IUD.

Any child of divorce will tell you that this film is not just a 'single dramatic tear rolling down your cheek' level of sad, but the kind of sadness that brings out snotty, heaving sobs. Because if you haven’t seen Robin Williams get caught out dressing like a babysitter (albeit in some dicey transphobic, 'it was the '90s!' details) in order to spend time with his kids, you haven’t known true sadness. Next time someone asks you when you’ll settle down, remind them that one in three marriages end in gut-wrenching heartache. Cool!

Once again we praise our drug company overlords for access to long-acting reversible contraceptives. Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) becomes pregnant as a high-school teenager. After some oddly negotiated discussion of pregnancy options, Juno decides to keep the baby and finds a couple looking to adopt. Juno asks some big questions about the readiness to parent that few films are willing to explore.

BAD MOMS 1 & 2
Billed as the women’s version of The Hangover (sure?), these films are about how bloody hard it is to be a mother. They’re about banding together; not taking shit from bullies; being kind to yourself despite the expectations of others being screamed at you at all times; and that it truly takes a village to raise a family. These mothers love their children, but they also show how bloody tough it is without holding back on the details. I love this franchise with my heart and soul.

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