When 19-year-old Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) collapses on stage during a performance, her parents decide it’s finally time to tell her the truth about where her health problems stem from: She was adopted after her birth mother attempted to abort her.
Bewildered, angered and confused, Hannah turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend. He agrees to let her come along on a spring break trip with friends. They’re headed to New Orleans, but they stop in Mobile, Ala., where Hannah was born, along the way.
This plot line, meant to spark thoughts and conversations about abortion in today’s society, belongs to the new film October Baby, which hits theaters this Friday.
The film was written and directed by brothers Andrew and Jonathon Erwin. Andrew Erwin said his brother heard the story of a woman who was an abortion survivor, but thought a documentary would be too hard to watch.
“He decided to inject it into a coming-of-age love story that's very entertaining and charming,” Andrew Erwin said.
He said studios originally turned them down, but after a successful showing at about 13 theaters in Mississippi, Alabama and Memphis, Tenn., in October, the film is opening on 378 screens on Friday.
“In the past five years with the rise of movies like Fireproof and Courageous, faith films are on the rise,” Jon Erwin explained. “I think the values of middle-America have kind of been dismissed by Hollywood, and I think they are realizing now there’s a huge market there because they are giving us a voice in films that we’ve never had before.”
Even before its release, the faith-based film is getting praise.
Dennis Rainey, host of FamilyLife Today, said the film is powerful and outstanding. “I was not prepared for the impact this movie would have on me. October Baby is THE must-watch movie for all families in 2012.”
“October Baby is absolutely the best movie about the precious gift of life, the incredible pain of abortion and the power of forgiveness,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “October Baby will change your life. This is a must-see movie.”
Joe White, president of Kanakuk Kamps and founder of Kids Across America, commented: “October Baby broke my heart, encouraged my soul and made evident in a fresh way the vital role and responsibility men have in preventing abortion, holding families together and raising children who know and experience love.”
Nancy Lovell, a publicist for the film, said it is a good way to send a message of forgiveness and healing to a broader audience.
“Because theaters are neutral territory, people who wouldn't darken the door of a church will go to a movie,” she explained. “And stories on film have the power to engage and transform.”
Although the release is small comparatively—The Hunger Games, which opens the same day, will premiere on nearly 4,000 screens—Lovell said whether or not it fills more theaters depends on the audience.
“Opening weekend attendance determines if the movie stays in theaters and begins to create word of mouth,” she noted.
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