About a month and a half ago, my husband and I attended a pre-screening of a new movie called October Baby. Despite the title, the movie has a limited release date of Friday, March 23, 2012 (today!) in around 300 theaters nationwide. If you don't read anything else I write here, skip to the last paragraph below to read why the number of theaters is significant and what you need to do to help!
Being a media-focused individual, I have an uncanny knack for watching a movie trailer and figuring out plot details that I'd rather not know because they ruin the suspense or surprises in the film for me. Therefore I allowed my busy schedule to prevail and I avoided taking the opportunity to read up on or watch much of anything about this film before our screening... and I was SO glad I did! I knew the gist of the film was something to do with abortion, so honestly I expected that this would be a fairly cut-and-dry "choose life or not?" struggle for a young female in the plot line. However, I couldn't have been more wrong! This isn't another incarnation of the movie Bella but rather a completely unique storyline that I had not imagined before. I will say that going into the screening without reading any reviews or seeing the trailer greatly impacted my enjoyment of the story for the better. There were plenty of plot twists and turns that continued to surprise me which was nice that it wasn't as predictable as I had feared. (So read into that as you may... if you want to be totally trusting of my review, don't watch the trailer and just go see the film this weekend!!)
The premise of October Baby is the story of 19-year-old Hannah who sets out on a Spring Break road trip with some friends to discover the missing keys about who she is and where she came from. Her adorably sweet lifelong best-guy-friend (seriously, I want to find a guy this awesome for MY daughter!) and his girlfriend are among the humorous menagerie of college kids who pile into a classic Volkswagen Bus and head across the country.
One of my favorite surprises as the credits flashed during the opening of the film was to see the name of Chris Sligh. For those who aren't familiar with him, Chris was a contestant on Season 6 of American Idol (2007), finishing in 10th place but not before clashing during a few bold verbal exchanges with AI judge Simon Cowell. That was the first year that we had ever watched AI. Chris was my husband's immediate favorite contestant and one of my top 2 (gotta love Melinda Doolittle as well!) so we followed him and his "self-deprecating humor" all the way to the Top 10. I include this tidbit of information about him because Chris plays a very "humorous misfit chaperone" in October Baby and there is a comment that his character makes about reality TV shows which I found quite hilarious... but it requires knowing who Chris is for one to find it funny! The rest of the cast is dotted with well-known actors as well, including John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard, Smallville) who plays Hannah's father, and Jasmine Guy ("Whitney" on The Cosby Show spinoff, A Different World) who appears in a very pivotal scene of the movie.
We found the story to be gripping and emotional, yet filled with hilarious laugh-out-loud moments too. I think this will be one of my favorite films of 2011 for sure as well as many years to come. On a personal note, I must say that being specifically 24 weeks pregnant myself when I first saw it added a special touch of emotion for me. The PG-13 rating stems from the maturity needed to process the senstive issues which are dealt with in the film, not from the more common reasons such as sex, drug use, bad language, etc. Speaking as a parent, this is a film that doesn't contain anything bad for young children to see, but they just wouldn't "get it," or it might cause lots of questions that would be very hard to answer at a young age.
This weekend the most popular movie in the box office will most certainly be the Hunger Games. As I mentioned before, October Baby has a limited release in about 300 theaters nationwide. Hunger Games will open in more than 4,000 theaters (4,137 to be exact). What is significant about this is that opening weekend for a movie is monumental to the box office... it's the make-it-or-break-it point as to how many more theaters want to pick it up for the following week and how many of the original theaters will continue to carry it for an additional week. The way I see it, Hunger Games isn't going to go anywhere anytime soon... it will continue to run in theaters for many weeks or probably months. An indie film like October Baby has a very short window of time in which to prove itself as worthy and this opening weekend is the start of that short window. I encourage you to check the listing of theaters to see if October Baby is playing anywhere near your area this weekend, and if so, bypass the crowded theaters and head straight to support an amazing look at how Every Life is Beautiful.