October Baby, a Message of Forgiveness

This weekend I watched October Baby with some great friends. I did not know much about it before going, only that it was a pro-life/Christian movie with abortion as part of the subject. I tend to be a bit of a movie-snob, thanks to my husband and far-snobbier movie friends, and it’s hard for me not to critically pick apart every detail of a movie as I watch it. However, after sitting through movies like Fireproof (not exactly 5-stars for cinematic quality or acting), I decided this time not to worry about paying attention to how good (or bad) the acting was or how well the picture quality was and I would just watch it and enjoy the message. In the end, I was impressed not only with the message but also with the overall quality of the movie-making as well. The cheese level was manageable (and I don’t handle a lot of cheese very well) and there was a fair balance of laughter and crying (er I mean emotional parts…I don’t cry during movies).

This movie wasn’t too overly “religious” either (like some of the other ones). It didn’t feel the point of the movie was to shove fundamental Christian ideas into my face. The general Christian (and even Catholic) undertones throughout the film were more like a gentle guiding force throughout the plot (and for the characters). After reflecting and discussing the movie afterwards, I would say we all enjoyed it and would recommend others to either go and see it while it is in the theatre or at least rent it when it comes out on DVD. The movie is also very clean and “family-friendly” for kids probably age maybe 12 and above since abortion is a bit of a “mature” topic. (But you know your kids best.)

***The next part of my review might contain some spoilers so if you are like me and prefer knowing as little as possible about a movie before watching it, you might not want to read this until after you get to watch it yourself.

October Baby was a movie about love, life, death, choices, consequences, friendship, family and most importantly—forgiveness.

This really isn’t a theme we generally focus on very often, especially when it comes to the issue of abortion. The pro-life vs. pro-choice scene is usually more about accusations, judgments, and righteousness…division. But what goes on behind the scenes, behind the provocative headlines and 5-second video clips?

Pain. Lots of pain. Which turns into anger, confusion, hatred…deep and chronic sorrow. But there is also love, kindness, compassion (real compassion), humility…all of which lead from pain, through the sorrow and anger…to forgiveness…to peace.

Through October Baby’s Hannah, we see all this. We see the emptiness and the pain. We see the anger and rebellion. We see the deep yearning for love…the desire to be loved and to love…the fear of being unwanted, unloved and alone. Hannah’ journey shows the progression through all these emotions and in the end she finds the peace and satisfaction she was desperately searching for– not through anger or accusations or self-righteousness– but through humility, love and forgiveness.

While many “pro-lifers” who went and will go to watch this movie and may come out thinking about how great it would be if their “pro-choice” adversaries saw this movie too so that they could realize the horror of abortion and instantly change, there really are more lessons for those of us in the first camp.

We’ve tried so hard to change those who support abortion by waving derogatory signs or degrading pictures of aborted-babies in their faces or through slanderous and judgmental whispering and hen-clucking, or even through ego-and-career-boosting politics and points-winning legislation. For “pro-lifers”, the horror of abortion is so real and so threatening and so awful that sometimes it seems we’ve let the crime we are fighting against cast a shadow on the victims. We’ve let the ones we should be fighting for become our enemies.

Shaking our heads and wondering why on earth it could be considered “ok” to deliberately kill another innocent human being is a fine place to start and sharing pertinent information respectfully is also important but we have to move on to the next step. If we really want to see abortion “go away”, we have to be willing to look past the labels of “pro-choice” and “pro-life”, “pro-abortion” and “anti-abortion”, “pro-woman” and “anti-woman”. Then, with great humility, we have to look at what’s left and listen, see, and feel – not to justify or pander or belittle – simply to understand what’s really going on behind this “choice” (com-passion). Ranting and raving and fancy-schmancy polarizing politics will not “fix” this problem. Making abortion illegal is a great goal; however even if/when this happens and until it does much healing will be needed and this can only come through forgiveness, from both sides.

October Baby is a good movie. But when you watch it, let it change you.

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