October Baby
PG-13
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +3

Rachel Hendrix, Jason Burkey, John Schneider, Jasmine Guy. Drama. Written by Theresa Preston, Jon and Andrew Erwin, Cecil Stokes. Directed by Jon and Andrew Erwin.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Music video directors Jon and Andrew Erwin tell this life-affirming drama about 19-year-old Hannah (feature film newcomer Rachel Hendrix, who somewhat resembles Natalie Portman in looks and style), whose life is upended when she learns she is adopted, and the survivor of a failed abortion. She sets out with her best friend to find her real mother and discover why she wasn’t wanted. The film itself deals with forgiveness and the subject of abortion.

PREVIEW REVIEW: October Baby is a powerful parable about healing, one that tenderly reveals the psychological aftermath created by abortion. It drives home the case for the belief that memories linger submerged, but never forgotten by those who have undergone the procedure. It doesn’t preach, nor does it accuse, it merely makes a valid point that should be considered.

My one complaint has to do with the background score. The makers are music video makers who have enhanced their story with lyric-driven montages. These mini-story musical interludes are often relied upon to further the narrative, but should be used sparingly. This reveals the influence MTV devotees have had on the movie-making process. But since musical tastes and styles quickly change, these musical montages usually date a film, or bore listeners who prefer music that touches the emotions or sets a mood to syrupy lyrics that preach an agenda. It’s a sort of cop-out to storytelling. I mention this story-furthering contrivance because for the past generation music video-ism has greatly changed the way movies are made. But not for the better. Quick editing, music montages, and CGI effects now overwhelm movie productions, and often story and character development suffer for it.

But this is a small annoyance when viewing October Baby. Directors Jon and Andrew Erwin have perfectly cast their film and though I personally found the overloaded soundtrack a distraction, the story makes for a compelling movie-going experience.

Perhaps the most effective aspect of the production is how gently Christian philosophy is intertwined within the narrative. No matter their agenda, the filmmakers never preach to the audience. Rather, they slyly import the need for forgiveness. As with the “Pay it Forward” philosophy, which suggests the need to pass on good deeds in order to turn our world from selfish narcissism to one dominated by kindness, the intent here is to propose the need for forgiving others in order to find true peace within.

Rachel Hendrix is gifted and has a charm that aids one searching for a lasting career in front of the camera. Her supporting cast mates are also effective. And a special acknowledgement should be made concerning Jasmine Guy as a nurse who formerly worked in an abortion clinic. Her moments with Ms. Hendrix are the most moving, most insightful in the picture.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Gravitas

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Discussions of attempted abortion.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: The film mainly gets its rating for the mature subject matter – abortion, feelings of unworthiness.
Running Time: 107 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and up.

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