Film Review: October Baby

October Baby (2012)
starring Rachel Hendrix, Jason Burkey, Jasmine Guy,  John Schneider

Watch the trailer for October Baby
(source: )

[Warning! ... for those who haven't seen this movie and don't want to be spoiled...]

Brief Synopsis
A college freshman's world is rocked when she learns she is the adopted survivor of an attempted abortion.
When I first saw the trailer for October Baby, I thought this looks interesting and might just be really good, but wasn't sure if I was going to see this as I'm not familiar with the lead actors and I didn't know if it might even make it to my local theaters. Very few independent films (especially faith-based indie films like this one) make it here, unless it's really good and getting some good buzz and word of mouth from movie audiences across the country. So, I checked my local theaters online during its opening week for a possible listing and times of viewing for this movie. Usually, I get disappointed when there's an indie movie I want to see and it doesn't make it to my local theaters  (or it takes a long time for it to get here especially when it gets a limited release) and I don't get to see it until it's released on DVD or Netflix. To my surprise, this movie was listed and was showing under Independent Select from my local AMC theaters as I heard this movie was showing in only 390 theaters in select cities around the country and more will be added if more interest and request from moviegoers). I was so glad that this film was showing in my local theaters.

I took my mom to see it with me on its opening day (3/23). We both loved and enjoyed watching this movie. We never expected to have loved and enjoyed watching this film. October Baby was very touching, moving, inspiring, courageous, healing, life-changing, and thought-provoking.  It made us smile, laugh, sad, and had a cry-fest all at the same time. It was that AMAZING! It was pretty emotional and heartbreaking, even though it wasn't based on a true story, but it is relatable and I'm sure there are people who can relate more and had gone through a similar life experience the characters of this film had experienced and was feeling, whether as a survivor of  botched abortion like Hannah (the protagonist) or those who had gone through with it like her birth mother, who attempted to abort her. This film had this powerful and life-changing effect, a beautifully written story that has a positive message about how precious life is, and that with forgiveness comes healing. As the tagline of this film said, "Every Life is Beautiful." Indeed, it all the important revelation scenes in this film will tug your heart and make you cry. I know I did...I tried not to, but tears just came out as I couldn't help it, it moved me so profoundly. That's how emotional and deeply affecting this film was especially in the scenes when Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) went to a road trip journey to find her birth mother for answers. The three very important scenes that were so moving and touching for me, were when Hannah found answers about her birth mother from the nurse played by the wonderful Jasmine Guy (A Different World), which has been a very long time since I saw her on screen! The adoption story of Hannah with her mother scene, the cathedral scene with Hannah conversing with the priest and his memorable line telling her, "you have the power to choose to forgive," which probably gave her the courage to forgive her birth mother and to let go of the past and what has been done to her, and just move on and live her life to the fullest with her loving, caring, and protective adopted parents, for without them she would not have survived as she did. She was definitely lucky to have them in her life despite her circumstances and all that she had been through. Also, her dear platonic friend Jason (Jason Burkey), who later became her boyfriend, was there with her through it all. Adopted kids will definitely relate to this film even more and after seeing this, will appreciate all the love and sacrifices their adopted parents had gone through to adopt, raised,  love, and take care of them as their very own.

As aforementioned, the story of this film was very well-written and has the positive message to affect and change people's lives. I love this kind of little gem of film that touches people's hearts, give people hope, be moved and inspired you at the same time. Great casting too even though I've never heard of Rachel Hendrix, the main actress, prior to seeing this film as well as the majority of the cast (except for Jasmine Guy and John Schneider...they were the only two familiar veteran actors of this film that I know of). Rachel Hendrix, the newcomer actress who played the main character Hannah Lawson, who was adopted (but she didn't know until she had collapsed in her college's stage play) and a survivor of a failed, attempted abortion (again unbeknownst to her until she found out later in the film) was  pretty good on her film debut. It was also nice and refreshing to see an unknown actress like her and portrayed this kind of tough and emotional role. It doesn't hurt that she's very beautiful, fresh-faced, and can act too. She pull it off quite nicely as not many newcomers (with little or none acting experience) could do it on their film debut like she did. She was convincing, believable and sympathetic. I felt her loss and pain for her complex character as she had been through so much, yet she pulled through and was able to let go of her self-loathing, moved on, and had the courage to forgive her birth mother later in the film. Hendrix did an incredible job and made me love and root for her character (who had an illness most of her young life as she had asthma, seizures, epilepsy, and multiple hip surgeries. She was almost crippled when she was a little girl as a result of a failed attempted abortion from her birth mother who abandoned her and still didn't want her or cared enough when they finally met years later) and her journey to finding the answers she was seeking for, to get through and get on with her life with the people who do want her, loved, and cared for her so much (even though she was almost taking their love for granted) as her adopted parents did. Lucky for Rachel Hendrix she had a terrific supporting cast that she was surrounded with and had supported her very well in this film as she takes the lead with a wonderful, touching story that made me loved and enjoyed watching this film.  What I love most about this film was that it did not judge or condemn, but does teach understanding and forgiveness....and through forgiveness comes healing, and that's what this movie was all about especially for the main protagonist Hannah Lawson. Also, it taught Hannah of letting go of her anger through forgiveness and learning to cope with self-hatred.

The supporting cast of this film were great too especially Shari Rigby as Hannah's birth mother Cindy Hastings (who interestingly, had a very similar story with her character. She was, interestingly, in real-life, a post abortive woman and her real-life testimony that was shown at the end credits...was even more sad, moving, and touching to watch...made me cry all over again),  Jasmine Guy as nurse Mary (she had me in tears in that brief scene where she described to Hannah the failed abortion and the eventual death of someone very close and connected to her) and John Schneider as Dr. Jacob Lawson, Hannah's loving and protective adopted father. They were great in their respective supporting roles. I must say, Rachel Hendrix really shone through in scenes she was in with them like the finding answers about her birth mother scene with the nurse (as played beautifully by Jasmine Guy) and every scene that Hendrix and Schneider were in together especially when they patched things up and went to Mobile, AL together to leave a hospital bracelet and an "I forgive you" note to her birth mother (for rejecting her), the emotional cemetery scene, and her hugging her dad tightly towards the end she said "thank you...for wanting ME." Also, her scenes with her mom when she was telling her about her adopted story (made me cry) as well as the cathedral scene with the priest (even made me cry more). The filmmakers, The Erwin Brothers (Andrew and Jon), who (looking through this film's credits) impressively did the beautiful cinematography (Jon Erwin) of the film's scenery and locations, co-wrote the story and screenplay, co-produced, edited (Andrew Erwin), and both directed this film...both did an amazing job with making this absolutely beautiful and inspirational film and especially taking a big risk in casting an inexperience and newcomer actress Rachel Hendrix in the lead role, but also surrounded her with wonderful supporting cast...and their casting her in this role paid off as she nailed it and did a great job with her acting in this film especially in the most important, tough, and emotional scenes. You can't help but be moved and cry along with her in those scenes...I know I did. If an actor can affect and moved me like that (like she did in this film), then, he or she succeeded and did a great job of diving into his or her character and made it real, believable and convincing enough for me to care and root for his or her character.

Overall, I thought this film was simply amazing and so incredibly moving to watch. It's a wonderful road trip, self-discovery film. It really does make you think about how those abortion survivors would not have existed had they not been saved and adopted and how precious life is and that, once again, "Every Life is Beautiful." I highly recommend you see this film, if you haven't already. It is worth watching and life-changing! It was definitely one of those few, rare indie movies (ie. Slumdog Millionaire, The Help, The Blind Side, and PRECIOUS: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire. to name a few) that come out unexpectedly every year and I never expected to see it and come to love and enjoy watching it (as well as still thinking about it after seeing it) as I did with this film. Go see this and experience the beautiful October Baby film!

My October Baby Film Rating: (10/10; A+)


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