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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Rachel Hendrix, Jason Burkey, John Schneider, Jasmine Guy and Chris Sligh
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Jon and Andrew Erwin (also written by Theresa Preston/Story also by Cecil Stokes)
MPAA RATING
Rated PG-13
RUNNING TIME
104 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Provident Films/Samuel Goldwyn Co.
DVD EXTRAS
  • Commentary from the Erwin Brothers and the OCTOBER BABY Family
  • October Bloopers
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Every Life Is Beautiful Videos
  • Heartwarming Stories (featuring Gianna Jessen, Shari Rigby, and Rachel Hendrix)
  • Q&A with Rachel and Jason
  • The Afters "Life Is Beautiful" Music Video
  • And More!

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
 "October Baby" Review 
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Every life is beautiful...

Hannah (Rachel Hendrix) is beautiful. As October Baby opens, this beautiful and vibrant young woman is on stage preparing for her college stage debut when, unexpectedly, she collapses. After a series of medical tests, all the evidence points towards Hannah's difficult birth. This revelation brings to light an even greater revelation for Hannah - that she was adopted by her parents (John Schneider and Jennifer Price) after her birth mother's failed abortion attempt.

Torn between her anger and confusion, Hannah turns to spirited and adventurous longtime friend Jason (Jason Burkey) and joins him and his friends on a spring break trip that will become a journey that changes her life.

Written and directed by Dove Award-winning brothers Andrew and Jon Erwin, October Baby may very well be the most accessible faith-based film since the Kendrick Brothers burst onto the scene with Facing the Giants. The film won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Fiction Feature at the 2011 Red Rock Film Festival and will now arrive in theaters on March 23, 2012 being co-distributed by Provident Films and Samuel Goldwyn Co.

For years, simply hearing the words phrase "faith-based" would cause audiences to shy away, a reflection of the market's overt preachiness and the often sub-standard films being released. In the last few years, however, the faith-based film community has grown up and the digital era has made it possible for filmmakers with lower budgets to produce quality films. The faith-based film community really blossomed after the Kendrick Brothers and Sherwood Baptist Church surprised much of Hollywood with the unexpected wide-release success of Facing the Giants followed by Fireproof and the recent Courageous. There have, of course, been others and faith-based audiences have finally owned up to their responsibility and actively turns out to support these value-based films.

The faith current in October Baby is strong and undeniable, yet the film is a "faith-based" film not because it preaches but because faith is essential to the story and to the characters involved in the story. There's no need to "preach" here, because these characters have faith woven throughout the fabric of their lives.

Rachel Hendrix is a relative newcomer to the Hollywood scene, having mostly acted in short films, music videos and Alumni, a Halogen Network television pilot. Hendrix's performance is actually a bit unusual in that she really blossoms the more emotionally complex her character becomes. Her scenes as she discovers more and more about her life are deeply felt and emotionally satisfying scenes that reveal Hendrix as a gifted young actress who should see more work coming her way after this performance.

In a film that is so richly felt, it's essential for the audience to have a key character who gives them room to breathe. As Hannah's longtime friend and confidante, Jason Burkey (The 10 Commandments of Chloe) gives us that character with Jason. Burkey's performance is by far the film's most relaxed and natural, with the possible exception of that by former "American Idol" Top 10 finalist Chris Sligh, who serves well as this film's comic relief.

Former Dukes of Hazzard star and country crooner John Schneider is terrific as Hannah's father, while Shari Rigby gives a memorable performance despite relatively brief screen time as a key player in Hannah's past. Jasmine Guy, whom most will remember from television's A Different World and her musical days, is simply unforgettable in one essential scene.

Jon Erwin photographs the film beautifully, perhaps a bit too beautifully at times, while the original music by Paul Mills serves as the perfect companion to the film. October Baby also features a stellar soundtrack that almost makes you feel like you're watching a Nicholas Sparks story unfold.

If you've been a fan of the Kendrick Brothers films, then you will most definitely have a deep appreciation for October Baby, a film that wears its faith on its sleeves yet leaves enough room at the table for all who choose to join in. With humor, heart and conviction, October Baby reminds us that every life is beautiful and that, just perhaps, the greatest thing we have to offer one another is our love.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic   
    The Official Rating Guideline
    • A+ to A: 4 Stars                
    • A- to B+: 3.5 Stars            
    • B: 3 Stars                         
    • B- to C+: 2.5 Stars           
    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
    • F: Zero Stars

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