Some movies make it big because their cast is packed with A-list celebrities. Others films boast an eager fan base willing to wait in line to catch a midnight screening of ‘the next big thing.’ And then other movies come out of nowhere and find success by simply telling a strong story.
October Baby is one of those films.
It won’t receive the publicity of a Mirror Mirror and it doesn’t have the diehard fans like The Hunger Games , but Baby has been very successful in its first two weekends of release. In fact, when it was released against Games, it had the second-highest-per-screen average and despite its limited number of screens, was one of the top ten highest-grossing movies of the weekend.
I talked to Dukes of Hazard star John Schneider about the film on its release date and even then, he realized the power of the film. “I’ve actually never been involved in something that is…it’s hard to say ‘taking off’ cause it’s only opening today but it seems like it’s gonna take off,” he said.
Not only was he pleased with the film’s momentum but he was also delighted with the film itself. “I’ve never been so impressed with a final product as I have been when I first sat down and saw October Baby,” he said.
A college student named Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) learns two hard truths as the story begins. First, she was adopted by the couple she’d always believed were her birth parents. Secondly, she learns that her life-long health problems stem from the failed abortion performed on her.
Schneider plays her loving but flawed father Jacob, who has hidden that harsh truth from his daughter. Jacob’s flaws were something that appealed to the Smallville actor. When I asked him about what he looks for in a role, he said that his characters “have to be flawed, they have to have some sort of a gripe, and they have to be honestly, truthfully who they are.”
And Baby focuses a lot on honesty and integrity but this isn’t simply the message movie that some make it out to be, according to Schneider. While many see Baby as strictly a pro-life film, Schneider disagrees. He doesn’t see the movie as being either for or against abortion. “I see it as a forgiveness and healing film,” he said.
But he says that the movie offers up “a different perspective.” “I’d never heard of abortion survivors” before reading the script, he said. And he was so surprised by the concept that he had to reread the page where the concept was introduced.
Schneider didn’t discuss the politics of the movie with me but he told me that those who would automatically reject the concept because of its focus on an abortion survivor should keep an open mind about seeing the film. Schneider—who said that he doesn’t believe that “there’s anything such thing as a Republican or a Democrat anymore”—was quick to note how much he enjoyed debating politics with Bill Maher on the show Politically Incorrect and hopes that people continue to engage in thoughtful discussions, even about controversial subjects and he hopes that Baby can lead to such a conversation.
“I would love to be privy to the conversations in the car on the way home” after seeing the movie, he said.
In terms of how well the film fares as a creative achievement, I enjoyed the movie despite a few of its blatant flaws. The production value isn’t great and some of the characters are more superficial than satisfying but overall, I enjoyed Baby and would recommend it to others, especially those willing to keep an open mind about such a controversial topic.