October Baby presents a touching tale of self-acceptance and forgiveness

“You saw me before I was born.” -Psalm 139:16

OCTOBER BABY premieres today, March 23, to much anticipation in the pro-life and Christian communities. Inspired by a true story, the movie tells of a young lady on a journey to come to terms with her shocking past and find peace in forgiveness. As the curtain rises, the main character Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) 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 from her father (John Schneider) that she was actually adopted…after a failed abortion attempt.

Bewildered, angered, and confused, Hannah embarks on a journey with Jason (Jason Burkey), her oldest friend. In the midst of her incredible journey to discover her hidden past and find hope for her unknown future, Hannah sees that life can be so much more than what you have planned.

The film represents the cinematic debut of the talented and award-winning cinematographer team of the Erwin Brothers: Andy and Jon. Having practically cut their teeth on filmmaking from the day they first began helping their father shoot sports events as kids, these two brothers have gone on to make numerous music videos, the Crown Financial Ministries God Provides series, and The Mysterious Islands, as well as direct photography for the hit indie Christian film Courageous (2011). They’ve been itching to make a feature film for years, and their inspiration for the right one finally came when they met an abortion survivor.

Having worked personally with the Erwin brothers on a few film projects over the years, I have always been impressed with their commitment to excellence in cinematography and to telling a story they sincerely believed would be pleasing to the Lord. Their work on this film is no exception. Last October I was honored to attend a special viewing of the film with Jon Erwin in Alabama near where it was shot. He explained to me how making this film, for him, meant the blend of a vision fulfilled and a message that personally touched and changed him.

When the debate over abortion is framed in the public arena, it’s usually framed as men versus women or as babies versus women, as if the pro-life movement, in order to succeed, has to be at the expense of women. But this film is all about women. In it we see how abortion hurts baby girls, female nurses, and of course pregnant ladies.
The main character is very likely to appeal to modern, mainstream teenage girls in several ways. This beautiful character Hannah is someone these girls can identify with and relate to in her emotional struggles and fears, which are heightened due to her tragic past – a tragic past almost forgotten, but still dwelling in her subliminal memory. Although Hannah’s story is fictional, the type of emotional and psychological impact she experiences has been the real-life story of many women – and men. Readers of Steve Jobs’ biography will recall learning how he wrestled with the knowledge that he was a rejected child. But it’s one thing to know that your genetic parents put you up for adoption. It’s still another to find out that they attempted to abort you.
Like many young ladies, Hannah wrestles with her place in the world and the insecurities of self-acceptance. But as she launches on a journey to find her real mother and the answers to lingering questions, she is joined by an array of humorous, quirky, and loyal friends who seek to aid her through the surprising turns of the film. The film is marked by the signature exquisite cinematography of the Erwin brothers, a well-chosen cast (with a few cameos that will make fans laugh), and a number of musical montages.

Jason portrays the ever-loyal, ready-to-be-by-your side friend whom most people hope for when swimming through emotional turmoil, and in this way he seems to serve as something of a Christ figure in the story. Indeed, several elements of the film suggest that it was partially intended as a parable of the Gospel.

While I can’t give the film my complete endorsement due a number of caveats (particularly regarding discretion with the opposite gender; biblical femininity; and family honor, appreciation, and resolution), I do believe that the film does well at accomplishing its primary goal: to present a heartwarming pro-life story showing how abortion damages women – the perpetrator as well as the victim – but also how rays of restorative hope are found in God. It’s a beautifully produced and touching film with a strong pro-life message.

The Dove Foundation: “We urge you to see this movie. It might just change your life.”

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