October Baby Blu-ray Review

Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) is performing in a college play when an unexpected asthma attack strikes.  While at the hospital, Hannah learns from her parents and the doctor that she was adopted and her poor health problems stem from the fact that she is a survivor from a botched abortion.  Understandably devastated and confused, Hannah goes on a journey of self discovery.  With a little prodding from her supportive best friend Jason (Jason Burkey) and against the wishes of her parents, Hannah agrees to go on a  road trip with some friends.  Separating from the group, Jason and Hannah embark on their own plans to seek out Hannah’s past, looking for her birth mother and ultimately finding true forgiveness.

Rachel Hendrix, Jason Burkey in October Baby 1

OCTOBER BABY bravely tackles a topic most of us have deemed hopeless to argue.  Abortion is a tough subject because people have such polarizing opinions.  OCTOBER BABY wisely doesn’t become preachy about their stance, but rather simply shows the life of an abortion survivor.  With that said, for those who are pro-choice, the anti-abortion propaganda may still feel a bit heavy handed.  However, I would argue the filmmakers deliver their message in a tasteful manner, presenting love and forgiveness above everything.

The story is one that is rarely told as we follow a girl dealing with the difficulties one must encounter finding out you were adopted later in life and then the idea that you were actually suppose to be aborted in your mother’s womb.  While this character struggle is an interesting perspective, capturing ones turmoil from their past when clearly their life has turned out pretty good with supportive, loving parents and friends is a difficult task.  My problem with the film though, isn’t in story, but rather the execution.  To show Hannah’s confusion and devastation, her character spends a lot of time reflecting on life among beautiful scenery while musical ballads are played over the top.  OCTOBER BABY could have tighten the slow pacing by cutting about 20 minutes of needless gazing by our lead character.  These moments seemed to be meant to showcase location shots and add as many easy listening songs to the soundtrack as possible.  They’re not bad, just excessive.

Rachel Hendrix, Jason Burkey in October Baby

A few laughs can be had from a couple of the friends as the comic relief and the all around goodness of others and love her parents have for Hannah is very refreshing, with one exception of unexplained evilness in Jason’s girlfriend Allana.  Granted, perhaps Jason’s apparent love for Hannah and disregard for his current girlfriend plays some part. Nonetheless, the constant sourpuss face and overall hateful demeanor from Allana is too extreme to fit in the walls of reality the rest of the film presents.

My other major issue that the film seems to gloss over is, why had the parents not told their daughter she was adopted? John Schneider as Hannah’s father does a fine job (click the link to read our interview with John Schneider) but the character motives seem a little off balance.  Being upset with your daughter for searching for more information about her past that you refuse to tell her about is a bit hypocritical.  Hannah’s whininess, while maybe valid, does seem a bit “woe is me” when looking at the big picture.

John Schneider in October Baby

I appreciate the positive message and with a few (perhaps many) tweaks, I think OCTOBER BABY could be recommendable.  As it stands, the film will probably only play well for a smaller demographic who can overlook the melodramatic issues in favor of the message.  Unfortunately, good intentions is not enough to make a good movie.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: (1080P, 2.39:1) Shot on RED, the picture looks magnificent.

Audio:  (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) An excellent sound throughout the picture.

Audio Commentary By The Erwin Brothers And The October Baby Family: The two directors invite a bunch of the cast and crew to join them including the lead Rachel Hendrix.  A nice gesture, but usually not good for a commentary.  They do most of the talking and give some decent insight.

October Bloopers (5:00): Unnecessary but James Austin Johnson as Truman shows some nice improvisational skills.

Deleted Scenes (15:43):  Eleven wisely cut scenes, some driving the anti-abortion theme a little too strong.  There’s a whole subplot of Truman trying to seduce Allana.

John Schneider, John and Andy Erwin on set of October Baby

Finding Hannah (4:46): The directors talk about working with newcomer Rachel Hendrix and using her for Hannah and their previous music videos and commercials.

Shari’s Story (4:55):  This is a confession from actress Shari Rigby who plays Hannah’s birth mom. This is also seen during the credits of the film.

Gianna Jessen: The Inspiration (5:08):  Jessen is an actual abortion survivor and the inspiration for making the film and provided one of the songs.

Singing The Praises of October Baby (3:32): Christian artists talk about making the music and their reactions to the film.

Facebook Q&A with Rachel and Jason (6:24): The two actors sit together and answer the questions that they read from written cards.  I think fans will probably enjoy this feature as the actors are candid and light hearted.

Every Life is Beautiful (14:12):  Seven individuals give testimonies talking about inspirations, confessions and reactions to the film promoting their website www.EveryLifeIsBeautiful.com to inspire and bring others closer to God’s will.  Some of these are quite powerful.

The Afters “Life Is Beautiful” Music Video (4:12):  I like this song – very uplifting and a good inclusion.

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