September 20, 2012

Filthy Review - 'October Baby'

October Baby (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

When watching a movie for review I always like to do a little research on the film, especially if I don’t know an awful lot about it aside from the basic plot. Whilst have a look around for information about October Baby, one thing became very apparent; this would be a film with a heavy Christian influence to it. It’s always a dead giveaway when links send you towards religious sites. Now, I don’t essentially have a problem with that, but I thought it would be worth mentioning to give you a rough idea of what to expect. It actually doesn’t get too heavy into the religious aspect, although this does become more evident as the film progress. What was far more interesting to me was the central plot of a young girl discovering that she was adopted, and then getting hit with a double-whammy.

Adoption is an area that is actually quite close to me; I recently went through the process to legally adopt my wife’s son. It’s a long process and we both know that our son will have questions about his biological father as he gets older, even though he does remember him. In October Baby the story focuses on Hanna, a 19 year old student preparing to leave for college. She suffers from all manner of ailments, and on one occasion passes out whilst performing in a play.

During a subsequent meeting with her doctor she is informed that her physical problems could stem from the fact that she was born extremely prematurely. The reason behind the incredibly early delivery being due to the fact that her birth mother wanted an abortion, and the abortion failed which triggered her going into labor. So, Hanna finds out these two facts; she is adopted and her birth mother did not want her even before she was born.

Quite unsurprisingly Hanna is in turmoil about this, and decides that she wants to try and find her natural mother. So, along with a group of friends, including her long-time friend Jason, they head off to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, with plans on stopping off at her birth mother’s last known whereabouts.

As you might expect, October Baby is heavy stuff and it is a film that will continually attempt at tugging on your heart-strings. Visually it is a good looking movie, and the performances are all good, especially Rachel Hendrix as Hanna, who gives a really strong showing. Where the movie falls down though is in its repetitive cycle of events; serious moment, light comedic moment, tear-jerking moment, soft rock moment, then repeat. It seems to follow this formula throughout and as such breaks down the pacing of the movie. I can’t fault the intentions behind the message of the film, and it is a message movie, regardless of where you stand on abortion this is a quite powerful movie.

October Baby’s directors, Andrew Irwin and Jon Irwin, seem so intent on pushing the message, which ultimately culminates in bringing up the religion card, that they lose sight of the fact that they are trying to tell a serious story.

This is a technically good film, which could have been a lot better had it focused on Hanna’s life changing discovery, and subsequent reaction to this, rather than try to force a point on the viewer. Saying that though, October Baby quite obviously has a specific audience that it is aiming for and that audience will find the movie charming and powerful. It is a powerful movie and it will continue to push that across to you.

All that being said though, thanks to Hendrix’s performance, along with Jason Burkey’s as Jason, it is a respectable movie, albeit a slightly heavy-handed one.

October Baby is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

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