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October Baby (2012)

tomatometer

21

Average Rating: 4.2/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 11

No consensus yet.

audience

80

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 32,015

My Rating

Movie Info

As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college. Yet before her first lines, she collapses. Countless medical tests all point to one underlying factor: Hannah's difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to discovering that she was actually adopted . . . after a failed abortion attempt. Bewildered, angered and confused, Hannah embarks on a journey with Jason, her oldest friend. In the midst of her incredible journey to discover her

PG-13,

Drama

,

Cecil Stokes, Jon Erwin

Sep 11, 2012

$5.4M

IDP/Samuel goldwyn Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (29)

"October Baby" looks and feels like a Lifetime movie waiting not to happen.

April 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The odds that this has happened in the real world approach those of being struck by lightning and eaten by a shark at the same time. With a winning lottery ticket tucked in your swimsuit.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Salon.com | Comments (70)
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[An] earnest, faith-based drama, which lacks sufficient entertainment value to make its message go down more palatably.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter | Comments (4)
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Trafficking in 2-D morality and unlikely to be seen by the unconverted, "October Baby" would have been better off as a bumper sticker.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Comments (16)
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"October Baby" doesn't even meet the standards of decent propaganda. It is, in fact, indecent propaganda.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comments (40)
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"October Baby" may be well-intentioned, but it's as obvious and inert as a spoonful of mashed potatoes.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Post | Comments (4)
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

tries to walk a line between abortion drama and adoption drama. All the wringing of hands in this film are results of cliches we've seen in television and movies for years.

September 24, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures | Comments (2)
7M Pictures

While it's better than most movies of its kind, it's still pretty weak entertainment, though choir members should feel free to sing its praises. Amen.

April 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Sometimes it is simply impossible for me to look at a movie with complete objectivity.

April 21, 2012 Full Review Source: Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

A couple of scenes - especially one with a cop with a heart - are touching. Depending on your point of view, October Baby does manage to score more than a few points.

April 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Tri-City Herald
Tri-City Herald

The filmmaking is lugubrious and heavy-handed, and the dramatic arc stagnant and airless.

April 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Faith-based drama about adoption, abortion, forgiveness.

April 3, 2012 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (2)
Common Sense Media

A definitely pro-life story that will anger those who see no redeeming aspect for this position. For those who do agree with the premise this will be a cause for celebration.

March 25, 2012 Full Review Source: jackiekcooper.com | Comment (1)
jackiekcooper.com

Heavy-handed proselytizing trumps genuine emotional impact.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com | Comment (1)
Cinemalogue.com

Timed to come out in the middle of a political dogfight over birth control, when candidates tell their supporters that they'll "get rid of Planned Parenthood," October Baby could have hot-button appeal for a certain audience.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service | Comments (13)
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

An inept message picture.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA) | Comments (2)
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

An entertaining and relevant faith-based movie.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: ReviewExpress.com
ReviewExpress.com

Avoids the outright preachiness of the Sherwood Productions films … certainly a good-looking film … too much tell and not enough show.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

Instead of taking the WWJD pronouncements and beating us over the head with them, Guy goes for the truth and takes us there, teary eyed

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

May be somewhat distasteful in subject and dubious in theme, but its presentation is as bright and shiny and polished as the fresh face of its pretty young star, Rachel Hendrix.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) | Comments (4)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Sloppily gums the subject of abortion, never discovering truth or feeling. It's all forgiveness and climactic smiles, missing a great opportunity to bring a direct point of view forward worth some honest post-screening conversation.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com | Comments (6)
BrianOrndorf.com

Standard movie-of-the-week fare dressed up in Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes.

March 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune | Comments (12)
Times-Picayune

Audience Reviews for October Baby

Very sweet movie, even for a "Faith" movie. I normally shy away from those, but this movie is low key in that department, thankfully. It's more the story of a girl, her ordeal, the love in her life, and her ability to forgive. Good actors, for the most part (one red haired kid was iffy..his part is small). The ending made me cry. John Schneider still looking good, even for an older man...
December 30, 2013
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

"The main problem with this movie is the script. It tries way to hard to be emotional and touching. Instead you end up with acceptable acting with some shaky dialogue. I've seen better. Maybe if they took more time with the script and more time with casting, this could have been as heartfelt and dramatic as they obviously had hoped it would be. It's a miss for me. But someone out there might believe it to be something worth watching more than once."
January 17, 2013
LWOODS04
♥˩ƳИИ ƜѲѲƉƧ♥

Super Reviewer

Abortion and the rights of choice are topics that inspire intense feelings on all sides. October Baby is the latest evangelical movie to be funded by Provident Films, who gave us Courageous and Fireproof. The directing tandem of Andrew and Jon Erwin take a more melodramatic approach, focusing on the aftereffects of not just abortion but also the aborted.

Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) is a 19-year-old college student who collapses during the opening night of her big play. She learns from her family doc that her parents (Jennifer Price, John Schneider) have been keeping some pretty major secrets from her. She was adopted. She was the survivor of a failed late-term abortion. Also, she had a twin brother who did not survive the abortion. Suddenly Hannah's physical and mental maladies make sense, and she's determined to seek out her biological mother and find out more about whom she is. Her lifelong best friend, Jason (Jason Burkey), invites her on a road trip to New Orleans, and the two of them veer off to Mobile, Alabama to look for her mother. Over the course of Hannah's journey, she will come face-to-face with the mother that tried to abort her.

Like other heavily funded Christian productions, this is more of a message than a movie, which is a shame because it had the potential to rise above. I guess there are no spoonfuls of sugar accountable when you're dealing with a subject as painful and raw as abortion. I'll give October Baby credit for being less interested in sermonizing. Oh sure, you'll never doubt where the movie stands on the issue and where it wants its audience to go. The fact that a former clinic nurse can recall, in graphic detail, a procedure that was done over 20 years ago seems a tad suspicious, but credit actress Jasmine Guy (TV's A Different World) for nailing this scene. The movie makes a more sincere, modest approach and sidesteps the overt proselytizing of the Kendrick brothers' pictures like Fireproof and Courageous. It's a fervent melodrama, yes, but it doesn't push its message in your face. The issues of faith are seemingly kept to a minimum. Though soft-pedaling the admittedly traumatic story of abortion into a dewy coming-of-age movie seems like a disservice to the drama at play. This is more than one girl just finding out where she came from. This is more than just a routine road trip. This is more than tropes and clichés. This is about the pain of making agonizing decisions and living with them. What about Hannah's biological mother? There's a wealth of dramatic potential there as mother comes face-to-face with the teenage daughter she decided to abort. Just having her reject Hannah all over again to later cry against a doorway seems like a lousy use of screen time. Clearly this woman did not come to this decision impulsively. And yet, October Baby is less interested in exploring the realities of abortion than ascribing psychological torment to all parties (the mother, the baby, the nurse, etc.) and providing a clear, and somewhat contrived, road to redemption and forgiveness.

If we're going to feel for these people, they need to feel like recognizable people and not as mouthpieces for message points. We're told via Hannah's journal that she's deeply depressed and contemplating suicide. However, this mental misery does not match the Hannah we have seen on screen at all. I also find it really hard to believe some of her ailments. I'll buy that she has long-lasting physical problems from the failed abortion, including asthma, seizures, and hip issues that require surgery. What I don't buy is that somehow the act of abortion left a psychic scar on this girl and she has gone her entire life feeling unwanted, which is more than a little specious considering her adoptive parents have been unwavering in support and paid for all those costly operations. It's not too long before we realize that Hannah is really just the formless mass of producer ideology. She makes weird decisions, like forcing her platonic friend to sleep on the floor when they have to share a hotel room, and then after blurting out, for no reason, that she is a virgin, she leaves the room that she paid for to sleep on a couch in the lobby. And her platonic friend joins her, so it's acceptable for them to sleep side-by-die on a couch rather than a bed? That makes no sense. Hannah doesn't feel like a person, more like a series of plot points in human form, and her ridiculously happy ending seems a tad disingenuous given the dramatic reveals this woman has endured. Her anger would feel more justifiable if she were more represented as a character.

Let me deal with the romantic relationship with Hannah and Jason. They're life-long best friends and the movie even opens with them as smiling children, holding hand and racing to jump into a lake. You can only imagine where the two of them are destined to end up. He even has a standoffish girlfriend (Colleen Trusler) that doesn't like the amount of time Jason spends with his "friend" Hannah. I believe that her resentment is well deserved considering how Jason dances around the truth of spending time with Hannah, often falling back on the shady vague rationalizations, "hanging with... a friend... doing... nothing." As much as Hannah lacks proper characterization, besides being victimized, Jason is also every sweet, nice, good guy trope rolled into a human being. He's less a person than a human-sized version of a loyal puppy ready to lap at her face. He never seems to have any interests or desires or goals other than being there for his dearest platonic pal, and even when she's behaving like a mad woman, he sticks by her. Their eventual coupling is so chaste and passionless that, while inevitable from the opening image, makes little in the way of payoff. Both of these people are rather bland and nice people, so why not be bland and nice together and have bland and nice children who will marry their spouses before they sleep in the same bed together (couches are another story). For a story about teenagers ignoring their parents' wishes and getting into trouble with the law twice, including breaking and entering (because really abandoned hospitals leave behind all their patient info), there's nary a hint of danger or excitement.

October Baby looks a lot more professional than the other notable Christian releases that have found themselves in the mainstream marketplace. The photography is actually quite good, bathing Hannah's journey in an amber, honeyed glow, and the Erwin brothers have a knack for visually pleasing compositions. Their background in music videos really shows, especially during the movie's montage sequences. The music, on the other hand, is horribly redundant, lots of twinkling pianos and soft acoustic guitar. Former 2007 American Idol contestant Chris Sligh contributes several low-key tunes to the soundtrack and actually plays the overweight driver for the road trip. He's fat, so you know he's going to be a source of comedy, though you'll be hard-pressed to realize it.

Acting-wise, October Baby is also a step up from what we've seen recently. Hendrix (Alumni), despite a somewhat surly characterization, is quite able to handle the many, many crying moments she's run through. She's got a fresh face and hopefully she'll find her footing in the film world. She at least deserves to have as big a career as Kirk Cameron. Burkey (For the Glory) does earnest well and that's about the only note he gets to play. Schneider (TV's Dukes of Hazard) provides a claming presence, even though his beach bum haircut felt off-putting for a surgeon. I kept staring at Schneider onscreen and thinking how strangely he resembled Beau Bridges (The Descendants). The best actor in the movie is from Hannah's biological mother played by Shari Rigby (Easy Rider: The Ride Back). Sure she gets a crying jag all her own, but the actress underplays the mixed emotions upon the confrontation with her past. I wish the movie had concentrated more on this storyline, and more with this actress. The closing credits include a touching interview with Rigby where she confesses relating to her character and the abortion she had in her youth. Those brief couple minutes come across as more honest, engaging, and moving than any of the fictional drama that preceded it.

When the topic concerns abortion, it's always going to be a controversial movie no matter the stance. October Baby is not exactly nuanced, but it's a lot gentler than I ever would have imagined. The entire movie takes a cue from its bland but pleasant leads and produces an overwhelmingly bland but pleasant enough experience. There's no demonization of pro-choice people and few scenes of absolute sermonizing. Clearly the movie has an agenda but it doesn't feel so overwhelmingly dogmatic. It's not exactly going to make people rethink their political stances on a hot-button issue, but then again a rather humdrum story with characters that don't feel recognizably human is going to affect the audience members who are there for the message, not the movie.

Nate's Grade: C
April 11, 2012
boxman
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

I went in to this movie expecting a great story but maybe a little bit of preachy-ness and slightly mediocre acting but was pleasantly surprised by October Baby. The acting was incredible and the message is not pushed on the audience. Rather, October Baby just tells its story and lets you make your own judgments. Unfortunately, this movie was highly under-advertised and the theater was practically almost empty. (I saw this movie only a few days after a packed theater during the Hunger Games. BIG difference!) But there was a huge emotional response to this movie, maybe more-so than Hunger Games. My friend and I were crying multiple times during the film. It was very dialogue-driven with a montage of beautiful scenes mixed in-between. I'm sure even people who are pro-choice will enjoy this movie if they keep an open mind and just open themselves up to the possibility of this movie happening. As one reviewer put it: "The odds that this has happened in the real world approach those of being struck by lightning and eaten by a shark at the same time. With a winning lottery ticket tucked in your swimsuit." But I suspended my belief, tried to ignore the fact that the film had an almost Lifetime-movie-feel to it, and enjoyed the emotional impact it had on me. It was a really beautiful story with a positive message that life is precious and worth living.
March 31, 2012
crazydannielle16

Super Reviewer

    1. Hannah: I have a wild side. Have you seen me play Scrabble?
    – Submitted by Julia D (18 months ago)
    1. Jason: It's vintage junk!
    – Submitted by Julia D (18 months ago)
    1. Officer Mitchell: To be human is to be beautifully flawed.
    – Submitted by Chris L (2 years ago)
    1. Hannah: I feel unloved.
    – Submitted by Whitney W (2 years ago)
    1. Nurse Mary: I didn't see no tissue. I just saw the face of a child.
    – Submitted by Terri L (2 years ago)
    1. Officer Mitchell: If you find your mother, what will you say to her? Just curious.
    – Submitted by Sylvia H (2 years ago)
View all quotes (13)

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