Late last week I had a chance to see a new film called October Baby, set to open in theaters March 23. The movie tells the story of a college student who belatedly learns that she was adopted -- and that she's a survivor of abortion.
Give them credit: That's a perspective that I believe has very rarely been shown on film before.
The filmmakers are, as you would guess, pro-life Christians, and the film openly reflects that. Which raises the question, how is it as a film? As many of you know, I strongly believe that a film needs to be a film, not a sermon. And I'll be honest with you: During the preview, when it was mentioned that the Erwin brothers, who made this movie, took some advice from the Kendrick brothers, who made Facing the Giants, I winced a little.
That said, October Baby is in many ways a strong film. Most of the acting is good, and some of it is very good. The characters are more real and likable than those in most other faith-based films I've seen, and not all of their storylines are tied up with a neat little bow. The story feels original and fresh, with both emotional impact (I teared up a couple of times) and humor.
The movie's main fault is a tendency to long, dialogue-heavy scenes that tend to blunt the point they're trying to make. This is a movie that would benefit from a little less talk and a lot more action, as the saying goes. Or as writing teachers like to put it, it needs to show, not tell.
Faith-based filmmaking has come a long way, and October Baby demonstrates that well. I can recommend it as a good, thought-provoking moviegoing experience, and I'd be happy to see it succeed. But at the same time, I would -- again -- remind those working in this genre that no matter how important your message is, your goal should always, always be storytelling, never preaching.