- Genre — Drama
- Rating — PG-13 (for mature thematic material)
- IMDb rating — 7/10
A college freshman’s world is rocked when she learns she is the adopted survivor of a failed abortion.
I chose to review October Baby based on a classmate’s suggestion. Thank you, Stefania!
So this movie, like the IMDb description above said, follows a college freshman as she tries to find her mother after she finds out she’s the survivor of a failed abortion. Honestly, the entire movie seems like pro-life propaganda, for lack of a better term. It even begins with the audience being made clearly aware that all of Hannah’s problems, yes all of them, stem from her failed abortion.
There are so many great points to this movie — and many more awful ones. Let’s start with the good. Rachel Hendrix’s acting was phenomenal; Rachel Hendrix (Hannah) almost made me feel sorry for her. Almost. The story line was engaging, and filled with lots of lighthearted comic relief. To make biases perfectly clear, I am adamantly pro-choice, and yet I was not the least bit disinterested in the plot.
On the down side, while the movie seems to have the sole purpose of converting pro-choicers, many other messages remain within the film that I personally think are harmful. Despite its rating of PG-13, this movie has nothing directly bad in it. The “thematic material” they speak of is only abortion-speak, claiming that young children should not be exposed to merely very few details of a medical procedure. I’m sure that other parents have thought this after watching the movie or reading the IMDb Parents’ Guide, and have encouraged their young ones to watch the film.
The reason this upsets me so is because the movie clearly encourages emotional cheating. Without spoiling anything, Hannah’s character very openly crushes on her childhood friend, Jason, who has a girlfriend. The girlfriend is left behind in the dust and all of Jason’s decisions when it comes to Hannah, because Hannah and Jason are emotionally involved. I’ve found this to be a common occurrence in Christian films (which believe me, this is. They tried to hide the fact at the beginning, but slowly you begin to her Casting Crowns songs and suddenly there’s a priest). For some reason, Christian filmmakers will only count it as cheating if it’s physical; maybe someone should make a movie about that to convert these filmmakers to complete fidelity.
More problems I have with this movie: Having a hard life doesn’t mean you are above the law.
Not once, but twice, does Hannah use her sob story of surviving an abortion to get out of trouble. First of all, they illegally parked on a beach that was saving endangered turtle eggs. But since Hannah is trying to find her birth mother, she’s more important than the poor turtles they destroyed and the $5000 fine. Then, when she breaks and enters into the hospital where she was born, she gets out of that too by just telling the police officer the exact same story. I don’t care if it’s real or not, she broke into a hospital and trespassed, she should have been arrested no matter the reason.
My favorite outrage of the film was when Hannah had already spoke with her birth mother, then left her a note later on in the film that read “I forgive you.” This implies there’s something that the mother did wrong. Cindy (the birth mother) tried to have an abortion so she could be a successful lawyer, and guess what, she became a successful lawyer. The only reason Hannah and Jonathan (her late brother) were even born was because a nurse decided to deliver prematurely at 24 weeks rather than continue the abortion from the previous day. No wonder Hannah has asthmatic problems, some seriously poor judgment calls were made that day.
END OF SPOILERS
My last problem is with diversity. All the characters are white, except for maybe two. And the two seemed to only be included to “add” diversity. Of these two, we see maybe a combined 30 seconds of dialgoue, but the camera will pan over their faces at random times throughout the movie to assure us that the black girl and the mute Asian guy are still there, don’t worry, we’re not racist. And of course, all the authority figures within the story are older white men. Hannah’s adoptive father? White male. The two police officers that help Hannah along her journey? White men. The priest that we knew was going to show up in this movie at some point? White.
To me, the whole film seems like a self-congratulatory movie for those who were already pro-life. Right-wing conservative Christian adults, probably middle-aged men, made this movie. What kind of college doesn’t have their freshmen live on campus? And I really don’t care how religious or conservative you are — if you don’t have a problem breaking and entering, then you definitely won’t have a problem sleeping in a hotel room with a boy when he’s sleeping on the floor. The angry girlfriend (Alanna, Jason’s girlfriend) bit just made the movie a bit less likable as well, since the audience is supposed to hate her for disliking Hannah for having an emotional affair with Jason.
This movie really riled me up, as you can tell. And it also kept me very interested throughout, which I believe is evident through my incredibly long and critical review. Your reaction this will probably be largely dependent on your viewpoints on such things as abortions, college lifestyles, and the like. For me, this movie gave me a righteous anger against adamant pro-lifers, and I did enjoy watching it despite my heightened blood pressure.
Let me know what you think, is this a movie a pass or a fail for your next movie night? And don’t forget to leave a suggestion for the next film in the comments below!