October Baby: Every Life is Beautiful (2011)

Posted: February 11, 2013 in Drama
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OctoberBaby750Getting the opportunity to take the big stage at her college, Hannah begins to act in her first feature play, only to be stricken by illness and find herself in the hospital. When she is talking with her parents and the doctor, it slips out that she is actually adopted. Grief-stricken by the news, she detaches from everyone and goes to sit out by the water that evening while contemplating who she actually was. As a way to help her find her birth mother, Jason, a good friend, recommends that she join them for a spring break trip and that they will pass through Mobile, Alabama in order to give her a chance to find her mother. After she comes into conflict with the group and splits off on her own, Jason follows her and vows to get her to Mobile to figure things out. The trip is not as easy as they expect but they find themselves confronted with the opportunity to finally get some answers.

Starring: Rachel Hendrix (Hannah), Jason Burkey (Jason), John Schneider (Jacob), Jennifer Price (Grace), Colleen Trusler (Alanna), James Austin Johnson (Truman), Lance E. Nichols (Dr. Stewart), Chris Sligh (Bmac), Joy Brunson (Danielle), Diego Montiel (Diego), Tracy Miller (Sgt. Dodd), Shari Rigby (Cindy Hastings), Jasmine Guy (Nurse Mary)

Brooding and consistently depressed Hannah is represented by the talented Rachel Hendrix. In her first feature film, she maximizes her opportunity to draw emotion out of each of her scenes as she represents a person struggling with her identity. Jason Burkey does not wow as the partner and supporter but meets the needs of his role. Schneider represents a combination of denial and internal struggle, trying to find the right way to speak about such a difficult issue. Shari Rigby, though not getting a lot of screen time, actually was personally collected to the film as a person who had gone through an abortion while working at a law firm 20 years prior to receiving this script.

Jason Burkey as Jason and Rachel Hendrix as Hannah in ``October Baby.'' Jason Burkey as Jason and Rachel Hendrix as Hannah in ``October Baby.'' Jason Burkey as Jason and Rachel Hendrix as Hannah in ``October Baby.''

Andrew and Jon Erwin taking this touching, semi-religious film about love, family and life and tell it though the eyes of a child feeling abandoned by her mother. Hannah did not know for the first 19 years of her life that she was actually abandoned by her mother and left in the car of Jacob and Grace. While it took her nearly the entire film to learn about the truth, she later learns that her mother saw that there was a bulletin at the hospital where she was born advertising the opportunity to adopt twins, which included her brother Jonathan. While Jonathan did not survive for more than four months, she went through her life with no knowledge of how and why everything happened. With some help along the way, she eventually made it to Mobile and talked with the nurse who delivered her, leading her to her mother. Feeling abandoned when Cindy refused to acknowledge her, more soul searching finally led her to the realization that Jacob and Grace truly were her parents and truly loved her.

Shari Rigby as Cindy in ``October Baby.'' Jasmine Guy as Mary in ``October Baby.'' Rachel Hendrix as Hannah in ``October Baby.''

While the story itself (of finding who you really are and how to forgive) is beautiful, it also brings up a very controversial topic. The pro-life/pro-choice debate is one that encompasses very strong emotional responses. While this film does not exactly take a strongly definable stance, it does invoke strong emotions about abandonment and regret. Nurse Mary expressed her remorse for the damage caused to Hannah’s brother. Cindy eventually broke down and recognized the pain she had caused by rejecting her child, though there is nothing that ever occurred to indicate if she ever chose to reach back out. Regardless, religion is used as a central form of guidance for forgiveness and understanding, leading Hannah to a church of a different faith seeking forgiveness for her anger.

Whatever your feelings are about the abortion issue, this is still a decent dramatic film that takes a difficult topic and incorporates some good themes of the infusion of faith and forgiveness when trying to go through troubling times.

Dan’s Rating: 3.0/5

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