HBO’s ‘UNpregnant’ is a Charming Coming of Age and Much, Much More

April McBride, Staff Writer

I watched HBO’s new coming of age movie “UNpregnant” on a whim mostly because it starred my favorite, Euphoria it-girl Barbie Ferreira. Based on the novel of the same name by Jenni Hendricks this film centers around two ex-best friends after Veronica Clarke (played by Hayley Richardson) becomes pregnant and has to travel 2,000 miles to obtain a safe abortion. After realizing no one in her preppy circle would understand she calls on her old friend Bailey Butler to drive her all the way to ColoradoA abortion buddy road trip turns out to be very effective at destigmatizing abortion and showing the range of people who get them. This movie was surprising profound in its take on coming of age in the 21st century, and also how to takes on the newer tropes of alternative girl versus the wholesome basic girl.  

Bailey and Veronica in the opening scene, seeing a positive pregnancy test in the school bathroom. (UnPregnant)

I truly enjoyed how relatable Veronica’s situation was. Her boyfriend of 2 years, who we later find to be stalking her, poked a hole in the condom and did not tell her about it. Veronica gets pregnant and as soon as she tells him, he immediately proposes. Veronica is stuck between her dreams and a safe future with a lackluster man. With the recent Heartbeat bill passed in Georgia and only 5 abortion clinics left in the state, girls at high school and college age would be placed in Veronica’s exact situation. The film does not caste judgment on her as she makes her decision and it is treated like a normal, moral choice, because it is. The wholesome nature of the content signals how that serious decision would be made for a normal teenage girl. Veronica has pressure from colleges, parents, a overbearing boyfriend and her near perfect friend group to live up to, all she needs is the unconditional support of a real friend.  

In the last year a new form of the Madonna versus whore complex has been appearing, especially on Tik-Tok and other social media platforms. The alternative girl versus the wholesome basic girl. Veronica and Bailey both on the outside perfectly embody these tropes. Bailey is degenerate that steals cars, has green hair and smokes everyday outside the dumpster at school. She is also incredibly lonely, spends every weekend at home playing video games and has a horrible relationship with her family. Veronica on the other hand is the picture of modern southern perfection, she is traditionally beautiful, has perfect grades, a devoted boyfriend and a spotless social media presence. She of course is not actually this perfect girl she lives up to be. Veronica spends every moment obsessing and fixating on her image, friends, college applications and has strict catholic parents. Instead of pitting these two women against each other as they usually are in popular culture, this movie seeks to find a understanding between them.  

At the climax of the movie Bailey and Veronica find themselves in a long limousine with a strange man. This moment of them standing up in the sunroof is when both girls put aside their social differences and accept each other as friends. (UnPregnant)

My one problem with this movie is Baileys dialogue, she is given the most overdone lines that do not add to her character or development, especially when she is talking to anyone she doesn’t know. In the beginning scene in the school bathroom where Bailey finds Veronica taking a pregnancy test, she says “wow dweeb you actually did it”. This line and lines like it sound like something borrowed from a bad SNL sketch on edgy teens.  

In general, this movie feels incredibly current. It captures the unique issues within a 21st century female friendship. It uses the wholesome and relatable content to destigmatize abortion. I highly recommend UNpregnant to any women, especially at college and high school age. I would rate Unpregnant a 4.5 out of 5.