Saturday, March 24, 2012

October Baby Movie Review

'October Baby' Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello

Directors: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin (‘The Cross and the Towers’)

Starring: Rachel Hendrix (TV’s ‘Alumni’), John Schneider (‘The Dukes of Hazzard’) and Jason Burkey (‘For the Glory’)

People often struggle when trying to figure out where they belong in life, and what their true identities are. This is the main message exemplified in the new drama ‘October Baby,’ the theatrical feature film debuts of actress Rachel Hendrix and directors and writers Andrew and John Erwin. While Hendrix’s main character is supposed to represent everyone’s need for independence and to discover their background, the film unfortunately fails to create its own unique identity with developed characters and detailed relationships.

‘October Baby’ follows college freshman Hannah (played by Hendrix), as she nervously prepares to make her theatrical debut. While on stage, she unexpectedly collapses, and once again suffers from a seizure, like when she was a child. After being taken to the hospital, Hannah is told by her parents that her medical condition is related to her being born prematurely, and that she was adopted after a failed abortion attempt.

Despite the protests of her father, Jacob (portrayed by John Schneider), a doctor who strives to protect her, Hannah embarks on a road trip with one of her childhood friends, Jason (played by Jason Burkey) and some acquaintances. She searches for her birth mother, to find out why she was given up at birth, and in the process, discover who she truly is.

The Erwins aimed to showcase a young woman’s struggle to find her identity in the well-meaning ‘October Baby.’ Hannah is supposed to be the quintessential girl-next-door who refuses to listen to her parents’ reasoning and explanations, and who insists on meeting her birth mother to find her true identity. Unfortunately, the script ultimately failed to capture the essence of why she feels the need to rebel against her parents and search for answers on her own. Also, little information is provided about Hannah’s physical condition or mental mindset, leaving viewers uninterested and unable to emotionally invest in her mission to find information about the mother who abandoned her as a child.

Hendrix also unfortunately fails to spark any sympathy with her portrayal of Hannah. While the character initially starts off as being reserved in the beginning of ‘October Baby,’ as she admits to her parents and doctor that she doesn’t see any value in her life, she unfortunately fails to emotionally maturing throughout the course of the film. The actress seems unsure where she wants to mentally lead her title character, and if she truly wants to engage in a relationship with her birth mother. While Hendrix brings a naive nature to Hannah’s hope that she’ll find what she’s looking for when she meets her mother, the actress plays the role one-dimensionally. She doesn’t seem to base Hannah’s physical and emotional struggle for survival on any of her own experiences, or on a back-story she created for the character.

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