I watched October Baby in the theater recently. Inspired by the dramatic life of anti-abortion activist Gianna Jessen, the film tells the story of Hannah (Rachel Hendrix), who learns in early adulthood that she was adopted after a failed abortion. She embarks on a journey to find herself by finding her mother and by learning more about the circumstances of her birth.

I wholly endorse the pro-life message of the movie, which comes across with such utter clarity that I have heard of viewers changing their position on abortion after the film. In one crucial scene, a nurse describes how she came to view a fetus as an unborn child rather than a lump of tissue. It hits all the right notes. Reviewers have complained that the scene is gory. As if abortion isn’t—or Tarantino for that matter.

As a film, though, October Baby fails. No convincing explanation is given as to why Hannah’s parents withheld her adoption so long. Hannah’s mother never comes into focus. Alanna (Colleen Trusler), Hannah’s rival for the love of her childhood friend Jason (Jason Burkey), is unbearable, raising uncomfortable questions about Jason’s taste in women. The side characters—Hannah’s friends with whom she takes a long road trip—are as enjoyable as any movie-cliché crazies can be.

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