Title: October Baby (2011; PG-13)
Director: Andrew and Jon Erwin
Major Themes: Adoption, Abortion, Secrets
Synopsis: When Hannah finds out that not only was she adopted, but she’s an abortion survivor, she sets out to find her birth mother and answers for her questions.
Years ago, I heard about October Baby for the first time, and, thinking it sounded interesting, found a way to watch it. The movie didn’t make a great impression on me, which I was somewhat disappointed about—but oh well. On with life. A few months ago, then, I saw it on a friend’s shelf again and thought I should check it out. It still sounded vaguely interesting, and perhaps being a bit older would help it to make more sense to me?
Well. Hannah’s story blessed me in ways I didn’t expect. She had me crying, and laughing, and crying again. This is a very well-done movie, and yes, my first impressions have altered significantly.
Hannah’s life seems pretty well put together. She’s the daughter of a successful doctor and attends a good school. But when she collapses on stage while doing a play, her symptoms prompt a variety of tests—nearly all of which point to one thing: Her difficult premature birth. What she doesn’t know—and soon finds out—is that she was born after a failed abortion. Her parents adopted her when she was still in NICU, after being abandoned by her mother, and they’ve never seen a need to tell her she was adopted. That would come “one day”, but the need never arose . . . until now. Determined to find her mother, and discover whatever she can, she sets out on a trip, but one obstacle after another is thrown at her. Can she forgive her parents for their silence all her life? And will she ever find peace and answers for herself?
The mere thought of abortion is horrific to me. And October Baby shows a part of the story we rarely hear about—the good side of what happens to the few children who do survive abortion. Movies like this give a face to the faceless and help us think about what our responsibility could look like in these cases. Seeing Hannah’s turmoil as she tried to figure out who she really was pulled at my heartstrings, and I cried with her agony through some of it. It’s not an easy story to tell. And then the ending—I’ll just say that it was satisfying but made me cry again, even though I don’t cry. Wow.
If you have a heart for adoption or are pro-life, I’d highly recommend this movie. It’s very good. I know I’ll be thinking about this story for a long time.
WARNING: This movie deals with some very heavy themes—adoption, abortion, and secrets kept that should have been revealed earlier. I felt like it was very tactfully done, but it isn’t for younger audiences. There is a kiss at 03:10. From 06:49 – 07:39, a girl has an asthma attack, where she blacks out. From 14:40 – 15:20, there is a discussion about how a girl was born prematurely because she was the survivor of a failed abortion. From 44:00 — 47:00 an unmarried couple is forced to share a room for the night (it’s clean, although in their attempts to make the situation more proper and less awkward, the girl ends up going out to the main lounge to sleep on a couch, and the guy follows to make sure she stays alright). From 55:50 – 1:00:33, there is a discussion of the abortion with some detail about how it came about and what happened—this is the scene parents would most want to preview, I believe. A guy holds a girl to comfort her from 1:04:30 – 1:04:45, and the last scenes of the movie have a young couple going on a date, him playing with her hair a bit, and later they walk away holding hands (actually, holding hands happens several times in the movie—I just forgot to note them down).
Ages 15 and Above, Adults