BY AIMEE BEDOY
As an avid pro-life activist, I really wanted to love this film. I looked forward to it for months and months, and the preview actually looked decent. Upon sitting down for a pre-screening at the Students for Life of America Conference this year, I was so ecstatic to get the chance to go back to my friends and sing its praises. But within the first five minutes, my hopes for a truly good-quality film that I could take back to my friends were dashed.
It is a story of Hannah, who finds out that she is an abortion survivor, and her struggle in finding herself and coming to terms with the circumstances of her birth, her adoption, and her life. It comprises a road trip, college drama that seems like it belongs in middle school, and confrontations galore.
The basic plot to October Baby is the strongest thing that the film has in its arsenal. It had a good starting point with a story based on true-to-life experiences from abortion survivors, but it did not follow up on the potential that lay within. To be humbly honest, the dialogue seemed contrived and the actors were very obviously overacting; for some, that might have been due to the fact that they were very wet behind the ears in the acting realm, but overall it made the whole story seem over-the-top and put-on. In addition, the use of Christian music and saccharine dialogue about grace and faith really made it an inaccessible film to the crowd that I believe we should be aiming to persuade in the anti-abortion movement. October Baby seemed to be preaching to the choir, when we should use an art form as powerful as film to reach out to those people who we might have struggled to reach on a daily basis.
Finally, I would like to add a major qualm that I had with October Baby after I had finished watching it: despite the fact that the slogan for the film is "Every Life is Beautiful," it did not address the core issue in the abortion debate. At the end of the film, Hannah approaches her adoptive father and says to him, "Thank you for wanting me." This does exactly what the pro-abortion-choice side has been saying all along: that your life is not worth living unless you are wanted. Whether that be by birthparents or adoptive parents, our worth as persons does not lie in whether or not we are wanted, but in our humanity. They did not address the issue of humanity and worth at all, but put the ball back in the court of "wantedness," and brought us back to square one.
Overall, I would not recommend that my friends or family see October Baby, but rather that they endeavor and push to see good-quality films that address real-world issues in a way that can reach the general public, and not just fellow Christians who already agree on all of the same issues. The thing that Christian filmmakers need to realize is that simply because a film is made by good people, does not mean that the film will be of high quality or make it worth seeing. An art form like film has such immense reach and immense power, but mediocre films will do little to advance our cause in the grand scheme of things.