Movies can serve multiple functions in our lives as they can be used as an escape from the day to day drudgery of life that can hit us all at the best of times, a reminder of the need to laugh by giving us a few good ones or it can bring issues within families that are hard to discuss. Out recently from our friends at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is a family drama about the healing power of forgiveness that we all need in our lives no matter what your belief structure or status in life. It’s time to discover “October Baby”.
Starring Rachel Hendrix, Jason Burkey and John Schneider
Directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin
“October Baby” opens on Hannah (Hendrix) as the curtain rises on her theatrical debut in college. Yet before her first lines, she collapses. Countless medical tests all point to one underlying factor: Hannah’s difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to discovering that she was actually adopted… after a failed abortion attempt. Bewildered, angered and confused, Hannah embarks on a journey with Jason (Burkey), her oldest friend. In the midst of her incredible journey to discover her hidden past and find hope for her unknown future, Hannah sees that life can be so much more than what you have planned.
As a critic you hate to pigeon hole a type of film based on its subject matter and with its pro-life message it is undeniable that “October Baby” does have a message that they are trying to get across, but in that process they actually made a half way decent film that actually rises above the debate of being pro-life or pro-choice. While the script that was co-written by co-director Jon Erwin does have a myriad of pacing problems the story successfully puts most issues of faith into the background as we follow this young woman who is struggling with her own identity. Directed by the brother duo of Andrew and Jon Erwin the proceedings moved along well enough in spite of the uneven narrative (act 2 was way too long) but everything that unfolded in front of us on the screen came from a genuine emotional place and never felt fake or manufactured at any time. A story of this nature could have easily descended into manipulative, didactic drivel, but a relative newcomer to the screen actually delivers a tender performance that may even turn a couple of heads and elevated more than anyone could have expected.
Rachel Hendrix as our heroine Hannah holds the screen and will evoke viewer sympathy as an emotionally confused 19 year old. While the material was mostly understated she pulled off a very powerful tone that actually worked with the character and could be worth keeping an eye on, because even though this was only her second feature film she has some natural talent that just can’t be ignored. The rest of the mostly unknown ensemble was certainly fine in their respective roles including some familiar faces like John Schneider and Jasmine Guy but this film thrives based on Hendrix’s performance and could be turning some heads and getting some more attention depending on her career path.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray were great as expected and the special features on this disc include feature length commentary with the cast and crew as well as bloopers, deleted scenes, a music video and a variety of behind the scenes featurettes.
We are fortunate to live in a country where we have the freedom the practice our individual religions and beliefs however we see fit, and while the pro-life and religious overtones of “October Baby” may make some viewers feel uncomfortable; this was actually a nice, understated drama. It was a well executed piece of storytelling considering that they were on an on undoubtedly a small budget with a strong young female lead performance that didn’t put you on either side of an issue, it just connected you to characters, and that is really what films are supposed to do in the first place.
3 out of 5 stars.
“October Baby” is available on DVD & Blu-Ray for rent at video stores across the country; it’s also available for purchase at all major retailers like amazon.ca.
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