October Baby (2011)

September 18, 2012
Every once in
a great while, a film whose expectations are low, and is in fact, perhaps
ridiculed assumes a quiet presence in cinematic ways and begins to make its presence known just when you need it. Such a platform is usually not one that
is “exciting” in the traditional sense but its heart and beauty make it one of
the best to appear in years. October Baby
embodies each of these qualities and the result is as near to perfection as
cinema may ever see.

As the only
child of loving parents (John Schneider, Jennifer Price), college freshman,
Hannah (Rachel Handrix) was left wanting for nothing and enjoyed a happy
childhood. Days that were spent with her friend, Jason swimming in the lake
even Hannah’s health issues couldn’t stop her from being a happy girl. Now as a
nineteen-year-old, Hannah’s struggles are not of the body and leave her
feeling… alone. Instead of sharing her feelings, Hannah keeps them in a
journal, never letting on to the emotions she is experiencing. Preparing to go
on stage in a live play, Hannah’s nervous anticipation is replaced with her
health taking a turn for the worse when she passes out before even the first
scene is over. Rushed to the hospital where her father works, tests reveal that
each of her many diagnoses are related and the task is left to her doctor to
inform Hannah that an event in her past left deep scars emotionally and is the
root of her health crisis.
Worried that
his daughter is on the brink of self destruction, Jacob breaks the news to
Hannah not just that she was adopted by he and Hannah’s mother, Grace but she was
the product of an abortion that failed. Upset that her parents kept so much
from her and more specifically that her father used and shared her journal with
her doctor, Hannah feels betrayed… The one person still waiting to help is
Jason (Jason Burkey), her only friend, and when he invites her to join his
friends on their spring break road trip, Hannah takes the chance hoping that a
stop along the way to find her birth mother will set her heart at ease and help
her reconcile the past.
I cannot
recount the number of people in my blog community who praised this little
movie. It seemed again I was the only one who hadn’t seen it though this time I
had a really good excuse (its listing never appeared at my theater). When I
found out this was coming to DVD this fall, I couldn’t wait to get a hold of a
copy and instead of going with my plan to rent it first, I nabbed a copy of my
own and am not in the least sorry to have supported this film with a purchase
rather than rental.  Not unlike, Bella, this is a pro-life message movie
that has a deep, poignant impact – one that isn’t soon forgotten by its
audience. As a story, it’s slow-moving, taking its time in reaching its
pinnacle but that is all a part of its charm not a hindrance. Though at the
time, it can be hard watching something like that (there wasn’t a trace of
boredom for me), in retrospect, I think that is the only way such a moving film
like this can be told. It should awaken us and break our heart in equal measures.
Its crowing jewel is the ability to hook the audience without using cheap
gimmicks.
Much interest
was expressed in the role of Hannah being given to newcomer Rachel Hendrix.
Being the lead character and the one the audience is asked to sympathize with,
it is always a risk to cast a new face, here it paid off – time and again.
Every scene Rachel is in does nothing but prove she belonged in the role of
Hannah. She was lovely and empathetic in the role, so much so that I cannot
imagine any other actress playing the role with as great of emotion as Hendrix.
Likewise, if ever I was more touched by an on-screen father-daughter duo, none
are coming to mind. Schneider and Hendrix had beautiful chemistry and I adored
so many of their scenes together. Perhaps it is because of my own relationship
with my father that I get a bit misty-eyed or maybe it is nothing more than a
good cast which elicits sympathy but no matter the reason, this film was well
produced, directed and acted.

Unlike most
Hollywood productions, this movie has meaning and purpose. The characters are
likable though beautifully flawed and yet, not everything is tied up prettily
at the end. Of course, the script does work through everything, never
forgetting to address all the important things, and though it leaves you with a
smile, it doesn’t mean that all of the sudden everyone’s problems are erased. As
a character, Hannah was nearly perfect. She had morals, was awkward in a
precious way and at the end of the day was a broken teenager in need of trust
and truth to help her see a bright future. If the entire movie – or most specifically
the final fifteen minutes don’t break your heart and inspire you, I don’t know
what will. In those moments, the script is subtle but affects its viewers. (Pay
particular attention to the scene of Hannah on the staircase and her father as
well as the last scene.) At the movies, nothing trumps how lovely October Baby is and I cannot applaud the
production crew enough for a job well done. Even if not every one of us is
personally affected by the message of choosing to end a life, the film
resonates with just as poignant of a message: Life is precious. 


(What to know: there is some mature talk about abortion but nothing graphic. Hannah states she’s never “been” with a guy and awkwardly discusses it with Jason while stomping out of the room they are sharing [he’s on the floor]. Brief implications suggest a teen contemplated suicide though denial is adamant. The film is rated PG13.)

20 Comments

  • Natalie

    September 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I so want to see this movie… but haven't been able to get my hands on it yet.

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com

    September 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I want to see this one too. Especially now that I read your review.

  • Rosie

    September 18, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    My mom and I got to see a pre-screening of this. I was so impressed. I'm glad you liked it too!

  • Ella

    September 18, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I've heard soo many good things about this movie. I hope I"ll get to watch it soon.

  • Kellie

    September 18, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Now I really want to watch this! I followed the blog of the sister of one of the guys making it, so I've been curious about it for quite awhile!

    Kellie @ Cherry Coke & Popcorn Movie Reviews
    http://www.cherrycokeandpopcorn.blogspot.com

  • Net Movie Blogger

    September 18, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    This was a great review! I'm looking forward to seeing this movie, too!

  • Gwendolyn Gage

    September 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Beautiful review, Rissi! I've heard such great things about this movie, and I want to see it! Hmmm…I wonder if its out in Blockbuster yet?

  • Rissi

    September 19, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Natalie – this is SO worth seeing. Hope you can get a copy ASAP. It is one of those movies that breaks your heart but leaves you happy. Love that in a film.

    (BTW: I saw Blue Like Jazz. During the entire run-time I was "so-so" about it. It was not my kind of movie though it had promise. Sad.)

    Juju – you really must! I thought this was the most beautiful movie I've seen in a looong time – perhaps the best of 2012 even.

    Enjoy!

    Rosie – color me envious. LOL! That is awesome for you and your mom! I am so glad you had that opportunity because this film would have been worth seeing in theaters.

    Impressed is certainly the word for this movie – it impresses on a deeper level. Glad to know you enjoyed it so well also. :-)

    Ella – as do I. I think you'll find this a wonderful story to experience. Enjoy.

    Long time, no see! You've been missed around here, Ella – hope you come back again soon. :-)

    Kellie – that is so neat! I bet it was fun to follow the experience. Yes! You'll have to see this one as it's wonderful in ways most movies never achieve. :-)

    Enjoy!

    Net Movie Blogger – you'll enjoy it a LOT! It may not have the budget of a blockbuster but 'Baby' has so much heart. That is where it counts.

    Thank you for your kind compliment.

    Gwendolyn – thanks. More importantly, thank you for reading! (I know this one got long but it deserved every word!)

    It should be at Blockbuster by now as it released Tuesday (9/11). Enjoy – it's worth the rental!

    Thank you all for your comments – I love hearing from you!

  • Net Movie Blogger

    September 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Net Movie Blogger

    September 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Hello again, Rissi! Thank you for the sweet reply!

    Just wanted to let you and your followers know…

    October Baby will be airing on TV in October. GMC will be premiering it on their network on Sunday, October 14th at 7PM, 9PM, and 11PM! Hopefully many of you can catch it then.

    I have included it on my Family TV Schedule:
    http://itsawonderfulmovie.blogspot.com/2009/09/family-tv-schedule.html

    (Hope it's okay to share the link!)

    Have a Blessed Day!

    Net

  • Ella

    September 19, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks Rissi! I took a small break from bloggiing from lack of inspiration on what to post,but now I have many ideas.

  • Rissi

    September 20, 2012 at 3:08 am

    Net – that is great to know! Thank you. :-)

    Sharing links is just fine – I don't mind in the least. Hope the premiere has good numbers. A movie such as this deserves it; that is not to be argued… no matter what mainstream critics say. :-D

    Ella – blogging breaks are always good. I usually try to stay off anything social media / computer on the weekends… though mostly, I'll confess, I just keep to that on Sunday. :-)

    I do get stretched for new ideas sometimes too but right now, I have so many reviews filed on a thumb drive that I haven't run out of post material – yet. Either way, it's nice to have you back in the blog community and I'll be on the lookout for all those posts!

  • Sarah

    September 22, 2012 at 1:23 am

    I just saw this movie and I LOVED it! Honestly, going into it, I thought it might be cheesy/bad acting, but it exceeded all my expectations. It was excellent!

  • Rissi

    September 22, 2012 at 3:53 am

    I expected more from it than than bad acting (I'd read so many things to the contrary) but I did wonder about the script. As you say, everything was beyond expectation though! It was really a beautiful movie with a beautiful message. Those are always the best.

    Glad to know it has another fan! :-)

  • Sierra

    September 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I don't know how I missed this one coming out!! (your post…how many more good reviews have I missed???)
    I was interested in this movie and I had several friends say it was really good. However I'm disappointed, neither of the library systems in my area have gotten it yet :( I really want to watch it now. Thank you for the review! Sierra
    Keep growing beautiful!

  • Rissi

    September 23, 2012 at 3:48 am

    *gasp* You've not seen this one yet, Sierra!? It is totally worth the wait but I do hope one of your library's orders it in. Check any rental stores also. I wound up buying a copy but I did see it on the shelf at my local rental store. I really hope you can get a hold of a copy as this is one of the most moving films I've seen. Enjoy – and I'd love to know what you thought!

    LOL! Well… if you missed any more reviews / posts around here, I hope you come back and browse. Next week I have some fun things too – or I think so. :-)

  • Miss Raquel

    October 25, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I loved this movie so much…

    <3

    I NEED to get it on DVD!!

  • Rissi

    October 25, 2012 at 2:59 am

    As did I, Raquel. It was a tad slow-moving at times but that is a forgivable flaw. You MUST get this one – I skipped the rental part and bought it because I'd read so many good things about it; your thoughts included. :-)

    Thanks SO much for stopping by. Your lovely comments are missed.

  • Charity U

    January 6, 2013 at 1:26 am

    I'll add it to my to-see list! :) Thanks for the review and recommendation.

    1. Rissi

      January 6, 2013 at 5:11 am

      It's a great little film, Charity – hope you find it equally touching. :)

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