“October Baby” (Provident Films)
“October Baby” is a movie with a message and that message is a pro life stance. This works both for the movie and against it. Still the film itself has a dramatic heart and an emotional core to which audiences should respond no matter what their potion on the message. It also features strong performances from newcomer Rachel Hendrix and surprisingly older pro John Schneider.
The story concerns Hannah (Hendrix), a young college student who has some problems with depression and also some physical ailments. After a fainting spell Hannah is told by her parents that she is adopted and was an abortion survivor baby. Hannah reacts to this news very negatively and holds it particularly against her father (Schneider) who she adores.
She confides in her best friend Jason (Jason Burkey) that she would like to find her birth mother, who she has discovered lived in Florida. He suggests that she accompany him and some of his friends on a spring break vacation in that state. This way they can kill two birds with one stone. The rest of the film concerns her attempts to find her birth parent and how this journey affects her life. It also shows how all this also affects Jason and her parents.
The film is a bit jagged in parts. The story overall is a dramatic one but the moviemakers, Andrew and Jon Erwin, try to add some humorous touches. This is mainly done by giving some time to one of Jason’s buddies. Bmac (Chris Sligh) is the owner/operator of a Volkswagen bus which the group takes on its trek to Florida. Bmac drives and comments on everything sometimes with funny results. Still once the main drama of the story takes center stage Bmac fades from sight.
The relationship between Hannah and Jason is also troublesome. It goes from platonic to romantic in an amazingly short time. It enhances the story but it isn’t totally believable. Jason’s girlfriend conveniently just fades from view like Bmac.
The movie is rated PG-13 for its subject matter.
In addition to the good performances by Hendrix and Schneider, there is another one by Jasmine Guy as a nurse Hannah encounters. Guy provides this role with emotion, warmth and empathy. Sligh is also good in his limited role as the funny friend. Sligh was an “American Idol” finalist and this is his first big screen role.
“October Baby” captures the audiences’ attention from the start and keeps them interested all the way through this troubling story. The storyline is not as predictable as you might think it would be, and that enhances the entertainment value.
This pro life story is told in a way that is not preachy but merely the canvas on which the story is told. It makes its point but it does this through the story and not through long monologues about abortion and its possible consequences.
“October Baby” is not a perfect film but it is an enjoyable one. Thanks to a pretty good script and some strong acting the movie is more enjoyable than expected.
I scored “October Baby” a birthed 6 out of 10.