Movie Time: October Baby

image from wikipedia

She Said: October Baby

Many times people have a negative opinion of Christian movies. I am one of those people. Yes, I’m a Christian. But, you have to admit some of the movies that are out there are terrible. I’m a big fan of Fireproof, Facing the Giants and Courageous– but I do they think have flaws. I really appreciate that I feel like Sherwood Baptist Church’s film ministry has tried to step up production values and performance talent with each movie. I am eager to see what they will do next and I hope to see an even better film. But, the plethora of Christian movies that we see or attempt to see are terrible. They are slow, poorly acted, contrived and in my mind, many times actually do a poor job of sharing the Gospel. When I first heard that October Baby was the “abortion” movie, I knew that it would definitely be a difficult movie to talk about because it’s a very sensitive subject.  I was interested also in how my own infertility journey would influence it (yes, I have to hear “abortion” related comments even though I’m trying to get pregnant. Yes, it’s very upsetting). October Baby was not enjoyable or good cinema by any stretch of the word.

 

Abortion is a very difficult subject because it involves the cycle of life and death. Anything that revolves around life or death automatically becomes an emotionally charged issue. Personally, I do not support elective abortion. I have no problem with abortion in case of life of the mother. I have friends who have had procedures that some people term abortions (I do not believe they were) in order to save their lives. Their children weren’t able to survive anyway and the procedures literally saved these women’s lives. I have no problem with that. I don’t know how you tell a woman who was raped or forced into incest that they must carry a baby. Haven’t they suffered enough? It breaks my heart to think of a healthy babies life being terminated, though.  I feel that the Church should reach out to and care for these women, because we should have infinite compassion on them and their babies. We should also help them either raise or let them walk away totally from the child and help them build a new life. I know that I would welcome any child into our home and while I would feel total sorrow for the woman who gave it up. It’s neither her nor the child’s fault and both deserve to live and thrive. I know that they said they tried to film the movie with sensitivity and forgiveness for women have had abortions, but I don’t think it was at all successful. I often feel very judged by the Christian community because of the possibility of needing to use a variety of treatments to conceive. Some people truly believe that IVF, Clomid and egg harvesting are destructive acts in which I am attempting murder.  We have prayed and continue to seek God’s wisdom and wouldn’t do anything to purposefully endanger a baby. We fully believe that by God’s grace alone I’ll get pregnant, carry and deliver a baby. The insinuation that I am trying to destroy life when I desperately am seeking to create it makes me sick and angry. I’ve been encouraged and supported by many Christian friends. But, I am also ashamed to confess that many people in the Christian community seek only to be judgmental, ill informed, politically motivated in the difficulty that my body is having in creating life. I feel an especially deep well of compassion for women who are considering or have had abortions. While I don’t agree with elective abortions I still feel so sorry for the pain these women have gone through and feel like they deserve nothing but open arms of embrace.

 

The plot is very shallow. A girl who suffers from multiple health problems discovers that she survived an abortion and was adopted into her family. She feels that she’s always been plagued by a sense of not fitting in and emotional turmoil.  I resent very much the idea that abortion survivors or adopted children in general don’t fit into a family like “real children”. I know biological children who don’t fit in with their families. I also know people who I forget are adopted. Family life is based on the individuals in it- not who or how you were birthed.  There were also a lot of secondary plot twists and details that were hard to keep straight.

 

I don’t like any of the characters. There isn’t one well-developed character or well-acted performance in this whole movie. John Schneider, who played the protagonists father did better acting work on The Dukes of Hazard (and I hate that show).  I couldn’t stand Hannah ( the main character). She was so half-hearted, moody and awkward that I couldn’t feel a connection with her.

 

The costumes were blah. The camera work was not terrific. I felt like everything felt like it had been done before. Like here’s the “ confused girl looking into journal shot” which transitions to “ sensitive guy friend head leaning back and sighing”. The movie felt really predicable and boring from a filming perspective- visually nothing felt creative or beautiful.  The music was really bad.

 

I hated this movie. I thought it was poorly made, hurtful and pointless. I’m still pro-life. But, I don’t support this movie because as someone who is an artist and a Christian I feel like I should support only what is good- both morally and artistically. With the exception of the theme that forgiveness is powerful and should be given to everyone, I don’t feel that it upheld either standard that I test films with.

 

I am greatly encouraged by a wonderful song that’s quite popular now. I think it has a message that all Christians need to be reminded of.

 

Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours

–       Casting Crown’s  “Jesus, Friend of Sinners”

 

Be careful, Church. Don’t be so quick to be ugly. Signs don’t change anything. Prayers, hugs, investing love in people, educating people to make better choices change behaviors- not signs. As someone trying to get pregnant who will be relying on medical science for help,  and especially during this vitriolic political season, I can say that I feel judged by the Christian community and it stinks. It’s hurtful. Thankfully, I serve a big God who loves me enough to have sent His son to save me. I serve a God who loves me no matter what I do and that believe will bless us with a child in His timing.  But, I’m blessed to have already accepted Jesus, what kind of message are you sending to all these other women who don’t know Him?

 

Kari’s Rating- 0

 

He Said: October Baby

 

October Baby is a very hard film to write about.  This film has gotten a lot of publicity in some circles for the lead character being an abortion survivor.  There’s no real discussion of the issues at the heart of the abortion debate, or any gray areas.  This movie will not convince anyone that is Pro-Choice that they should change their minds.  This electric issue creates a preconceived notion going into this movie that may serve it well, or hurt it.  Lost in the discussion is whether or not this is a good movie or not.

 

While abortion is part of October Baby, it’s not all this movie is.  Yes, the lead character, Hannah, is a survivor of an abortion attempt.  But this movie is more about her journey to deal with the sudden revelation that she’s adopted then that she’d been aborted.  As the movie opens this fact comes to life, and she feels betrayed by her family.  This leads to an ill-advised road trip that takes up most of the movie.  To think of this movie as an issue movie shortchanges it.  Good or bad, it should stand up on its own.  Frankly, this movie could have removed all references to abortion, and it wouldn’t have changed anything for the characters involved.  They still would have gone on the same journey.

 

There’s also a subplot involving Hannah being in love with her best friend Jason.  Jason invites her on the road trip he’s going on with his friends so they can detour and visit her birth mother.  There’s only one problem with this set up.  Jason has a girlfriend.  A girlfriend that is rightfully jealous that he spends so much time and lavishes so much attention on Hannah.  This is a trope of movies that drives me nuts.  It’s not anything against this particular telling of this.

 

The acting in this film is very spotty.  John Schneider seems like he’s always yelling, and being one dimensionally over dramatic playing Hannah’s dad.  Rachel Hendrix is good, but not great as Hannah.  She isn’t overly distracting, but I’m never really moved by her plight.  Jason Burkey is difficult to watch as Jason.  The best performances were by the bit players.  Jasmine Guy is very moving as the nurse that assisted with Hannah’s abortion.  Chris Sligh (best known as being a finalist on American Idol) gave the best comedic performance of the piece.  His scenes with Hannah are very engaging.

 

This movie was very nondescript.  Had it not been for the hot topic that serves as part of the inciting incident, and the Christian message, this could have been one of many bad “coming of age” movies.  October Baby could have been more, but in so many places it rests on some of the worst cliches of film making.  In its marketing itself as an “abortion movie” It falls into the trap of other Christian movies such as The Grace Card that may have a good message, but latch onto something that is not part of the driving force of the story as a way to hook people in to watch it.

 

RJ’s Rating-4

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