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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.)