Recently my dad asked me if I would like to go out to dinner and a movie with him and I was touched! I thought it was sweet of him to want to spend some time together. Little did I know what I was in store for. When I asked my dad what movie he would like to go see he said there was a movie out that he had been wanting to see, so I just agreed not knowing what it was, thinking whatever it was it couldn’t be TOO bad, but I was completely wrong.
When we got to the theatre he asked for two tickets to October Baby, I had never heard of it. My dad and I settled into our seats in the nearly empty theatre. As the movie began I could tell it was going to be sappy, melodramatic, and a real tear-jerker for those who could connect with the message of the film. I also quickly realized that it was a Christian Pro-Life film.
The film tells the fictitious story of a Christian girl in college who discovers after having health issues that she is the product of a failed abortion. She learns that her parents are not her biological parents and she was adopted. The main character has a difficult time coming to terms with this and goes on a road-trip with her quirky and hip friends to find her birth mother. She is able to find her birth mother after meeting a nurse who used to work at the abortion clinic and remembered the day of the failed abortion. The nurse tells horrific stories of what would go on at the clinic and there are many tears. When the main girl confronts her mother she denies being her mom and in the end the main character writes her a note letting her know that she has “let go” and has forgiven her. Also at the end, you see that the nurse who used to work at the clinic now works in the Labor and Delivery Unit in a hospital. A happy ending for all…
Just when I thought the torture was over, a video of an interview with the actress that played the birth mother started to play during the credits. So of course my dad wanted to stay to watch that. She basically said that she felt that this role was perfect for her because when she was younger she had an abortion and through playing this role she felt some closure. She also felt like she was doing her part to help other women from making the same “mistake” that she did.
By the end of this film I was furious. My dad is Christian and although I was raised Catholic I made my dad aware that I was not religious back in high school. The issue of religion (and politics) have created a large barrier in our relationship. So as the film ended and he asked me if I liked it, I was angered, how could he think I would enjoy this movie? Does he know me at all? I told him that I really hated it. He then called me a week later asking if I had thought about it and liked it anymore. I answered, “No, Dad. I still really hate it.”
What I found problematic with this film is the fact that it was basically instilling false fears into peoples minds about a sensitive subject that is already under attack politically. People were walking away from this film feeling validated in their viewpoints against abortion and women’s rights. Does my dad now think that failed abortions happen all the time? I am not trying to imply that this never happens, it does. But is it really something that needs to be embraced into the anti-choice movement? Also, I believe that if access to safer abortions were increased in the first place this would not be a problem to consider at all. This option of course was not considered in the film though. Instead, they simply vilified the birth mother and portrayed her as a vein,s elf-interested lawyer who has chosen to turn her back on her daughter. Even though the women who played the birth mother has gone through the experience of getting an abortion in real life and should understand the hard decision it can be, she chose to accept this portrayal.
Needless to say, before I ever accept another offer to go to the movies with my dad again, I will thoroughly research the film.
Here is the link for the film’s website. On there is the video of the actress discussing her abortion that played during the credits. The video is called “October Baby Stories: Shari” http://octoberbabymovie.net/#