October Baby

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Christian films are well-known for having sub-par acting that hurts the primary message of the film.  This film as an exception.

More than being an overtly Christian film, October Baby is a pro-life film.  It certainly contains Christian elements and is made from a Christian point of view and the main characters are Christians, but it’s really about abortion.

Hannah is a college Freshman with a pretty normal life.  She has loving parents, an unavailable best friend in Jason, and loves stage drama.  She also just happens to have a variety of health problems, which are why she collapses on-stage.

She’s adopted and the victim of a failed abortion, both facts that were hidden by her well-meaning parents.  As a result, she goes on a road trip with Jason and some of his friends (and his girlfriend) to find her birth mother and get the answers she can’t stop asking.

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The characters in this movie are very believable, and Hannah’s character in particular is very moving.  She’s a kind and sweet girl who is now harboring anger at her father and early in the movie has thoughts of suicide.  She has issues, but the film shows her working through them in a way that is both believable and extraordinary.  Jason plays a large part in helping her work through her problems, and is truly the hero of the story.  Jason’s somewhat awkward best friend Truman is hilarious. Truman’s cousin B-Mac inspires belly laughs for his hippy vocabulary and love for his old beat-up full-sized van, which (whom?) he has affectionately named Evelyn.

Due to Jason’s jerk of a girlfriend, Jason and Hannah split off from the rest of the group.  This results in, among other things, an awkward situation where they have to share a room.  What could have been an opportunity for immorality because a humorous scenario.  Hannah begins a conversation that quickly turns awkward for Jason and she says “I can hear you judging me down there.”

In fact, for handling such a dense topic, the movie is filled with numerous moments of humor.  In one such moment, Truman enthusiastically talks to Hannah and Jason about the road trip in the library and after someone yells at him to be quiet he says, “Sir, this is a library.”  My only complaint when it comes to Truman is that he isn’t in the movie enough.

Truman (left) and B-Mac (right)

Truman (left) and B-Mac (right)

I have few complaints about the movie, but there are a few.  As much as I like him, all of them are surrounding Jason.  His girlfriend in the beginning the movie is horrid.  She’s completely selfish and even accuses Hannah of faking her illness at one point.  That brings in two problems.  First, why is a good guy like Jason with someone as awful as her?  The second is why is he with her when he is clearly pursuing Hannah?  The movie would have been much better served by Jason being a single guy.  You could still have her as a jealous girl who’s interested in him, but having them together shows Jason to be an uncommitted boyfriend, which is far from virtuous.  I also don’t like the way he blatantly disregards Hannah’s father’s wishes, and then basically gets away with it at the end of the movie.

Rachel Hendrix as Hannah and Jason Burkey as Jason in ``October Baby.''

As a matter of fact, the whole conflict between her father and her is a bit overdone, and feels like pointless extra drama.  I still like the movie, but that whole conflict seemed to detract from the main point of the film.

The movie does deal with the heavy issues surrounding the plot, despite the moments of hilarity.  When approaching this movie, you might expect it to be a broad-reaching condemnation of abortion and the evils it carries with it.  If that’s here it all, it’s in a very implicit way.  As director Andrew Erwin said, this is a movie about healing.  The birth mother is not portrayed as a heartless monster, but rather a remorseful and broken woman.  We talk about the horrors of abortion and rightly so, it’s a horrible evil that hopefully will one day only have its place in American history textbooks.  Yet sometimes we focus on that so much that we forget about the aftermath of abortions.  What about the mothers?  Are they always heartless?  Sometimes they are.  Sometimes they can’t hardly live with themselves.  This movie shows how the horrors of abortion affects children, and it also offers healing for mothers who have committed those heinous acts.  It offers hope and healing, something that we sometimes forget to mention.

2 thoughts on “October Baby

  1. Good review. If you get a chance, check out the extra features, or maybe it’s the end-credit scenes, regarding that actress that played Hannah’s biological mother. Pretty incredible stuff.

    • I actually did see that, it was pretty incredible stuff. I thought that really added to the whole healing aspect of the film. It could easily have been a film vilifying those who have abortions, but it didn’t. That’s not to take away from the heinous act, but it does give hope for people who truly regret what they’ve done, as well as showing very well how Hannah was a human being even while in the womb without being abrasive.

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