Even the New York Times finds something worthwhile in the pro-life film “October Baby”

By Dave Andrusko

What is the adage? There is no such thing as bad publicity? Well, that is doubly or triply true for low-budget films which open in a limited number of theaters. Such as the inspirational pro-life film, “October Baby,” about which we have run many stories.

The New York Times story on the “Film Inspired by ‘Abortion Survivor’ Is Quiet Hit” is fascinating on multiple levels. In parts, I could not help laughing out loud. This writer of this story/review really did read like the anthropologist visiting some far place peopled by exotic natives.

For example, the plot line, reduced to its essence, is about a “failed abortion” (Hannah) and Hannah’s search for her birth mother. Understand that the baby in the film and in real-life would have be very mature to make it through the deadly gauntlet.

And to her credit (after initially making a mistake, according to a correction at the bottom), Melena Ryzik does write that “October Baby” was “inspired by the story of Gianna Jessen, who says she was delivered alive at a California clinic after a late-term saline-injection abortion.”

So what follows immediately? A dig that Jessen is a “paid speaker at anti-abortion events,” as if that had anything to do with anything. And then (in parentheses), “The film doesn’t get into the science, but a 1985 study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology examined  33,000 suction curettage abortions and found a failure rate of 2.3 per 1,000 at the 12-weeks or earlier.”

Duh. Jessen was not “12-weeks or earlier.”

And then there is the obligatory tiresome rant from Naral Pro-Choice America; a bogus allusion to something that has nothing to do whatsoever with the film; and a mention (surprise, surprise) that “The response to ‘October Baby’ has not been overwhelming everywhere. On Saturday evening at the only Manhattan theater where it is playing, just 10 people were in the audience.”

Man, if it doesn’t play in Manhattan…

But, in fact, it IS playing well with the prospects of playing much better! And, going back to the any-publicity-is-good-publicity notion, Ryzik’s story has lots of encouraging nuggets. For example, the film

  • “managed to open at No. 8 and, through Sunday, had made $2.8 million, more than three times its production budget.”
  • “It is expected to move to more than 500 screens on April 13.”
  • Whereas the critics  have  been brutal, if you go to “the aggregate ratings site RottenTomatoes.com, audience approval is high — currently 89 percent…” Get that, 89%!
  • “Ms. Fuhr [Kris Fuhr, vice president for theatrical marketing at Provident, one of the film’s disturbutors) also said she believed the movie was preaching compassion. ‘To the young woman who found herself pregnant,’ she said, ‘if she found compassion early in the road, she might’ve made a different decision.’”
  • “I wanted to make a movie about the value of each and every life, and how wonderful the choice for life is,” Jon Erwin said. (Erwin is a co-writer and a producer of the movie.)

If you haven’t seen “October Baby,” be sure you do. And bring your whole family. You can find out where it is playing at http://octoberbabymovie.net/theaters.

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