October Baby movie: Do you feel wanted?
By Rusty Wright
Almost everyone wants to be wanted … by their spouse, lover, friends, parents. How would you feel if a person whose love you craved not only didn’t want you but also tried to eliminate you?
For nineteen-year-old Hannah Lawson, that feeling drives a quest to discover her real identity. You see, she’s just learned the likely cause of her mysterious lifelong health problems: She’s the product of a failed abortion attempt.
October Baby traces Hannah’s journey of bewilderment, anger and anguish as she searches for her birth mother and wrestles with family secrets. Romance, laughter, faith and forgiveness mix with pain and turmoil on this attractive teen’s odyssey.
Choices and Consequences; Caring, not Condemning
Abortion, of course, is a thematic powder keg, and this film – inspired by a true story – may generate some provocative headlines. But its screenplay is caring – not condemning – in fleshing out the human consequences of choices and reconciliation.
Actress Rachel Hendrix says playing Hannah affected her deeply: “I … was able to emotionally dive into the reality of this story, and feel it. And something shifted in me, and I got it, I got it.”
Hannah’s adoptive parents (John Schneider, Smallville, The Dukes of Hazzard; Jennifer Price) struggle wondering what their daughter can handle about her past. But Hannah’s determined search for answers becomes an entertaining and gripping saga that blends sleuthing with tender young love and sweet forgiveness.
How to Let Go
In a particularly touching scene, she wanders into a lovely cathedral. “I can’t figure out how to let go of the fact that I feel hatred for myself and others,” she explains to the kindly priest.
“I’m angry at my real mom for not wanting me. Why didn’t she want me? What’s so wrong with me?”
This wise cleric is a good listener. He sensitively mentions that the cathedral was named for the biblical Paul who, he says, once wrote, “Because we have been forgiven by God, we should forgive each other.”
The parson’s application for Hannah? “In Christ you are forgiven. And because you are forgiven, you have the power to forgive, to choose to forgive. Let it go. Hatred is a burden you no longer need to carry. Only in forgiveness can you be free, Hannah. A forgiveness that is well beyond your grasp, or mine. … ‘But if the Son shall set you free, you will be free indeed’.”
The movie has powerfully influenced some participants. Gianna Jessen – whose personal story inspired the film, and whose singing graces it – says she has “the gift of cerebral palsy, which was caused by a lack of oxygen to my brain while I was surviving an abortion.” Of October Baby: “I laughed so hard, cried so hard, and healed. Thank you!”
Life imitates art in some eerie ways. Shari Rigby, who plays Hannah’s birth mother, actually had had her own abortion 20 years earlier. She had kept it a guarded secret and felt stunned when approached for the part.
During a climactic cinematic moment, her character collapses in tears as she faces the significance of Hannah’s life. Rigby admits she wasn’t acting then; the tears were genuine as she experienced personal emotional and spiritual healing.
Sony’s Provident Films says the producers have assigned ten percent of the profits “to the Every Life is Beautiful Fund” for “frontline organizations helping women face crisis pregnancies, life-affirming adoption agencies, and those caring for orphans.”
I highly recommend this stimulating and entertaining film, regardless of your views on abortion. Even if it doesn’t touch you emotionally as it did me, I predict it will get you thinking.
Rated PG-13 for “Mature Thematic Elements.” Opens March 23. Theaters
DVD available September 11, 2012
Rusty Wright is an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. He holds Bachelor of Science (psychology) and Master of Theology degrees from Duke and Oxford universities, respectively. www.RustyWright.com
Copyright © 2012 Rusty Wright
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Editors: Note pictures below. Click on picture to access picture file. More pictures are here.