Hollywood critics are still scratching their heads in response to the incredible success of the new film "October Baby." For a movie that New York Times film critic Jeannette Catsoulis said was “ugliness at its core,” it did beautifully well at the box office.
"October Baby" grossed $1.7 million its opening weekend. And despite appearing in fewer than 400 theaters, it finished as the No. 8 movie, the No. 1 limited release film, and had the third-highest per-screen average.
You may be wondering what the film is about. Here's part of the synopsis that appears on the "October Baby" website:
As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college. Yet before she can utter her first lines, Hannah -- unscripted -- collapses in front of the stunned audience.
After countless medical tests, all signs point to one underlying factor: Hannah's difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to what she then learns from her parents: she was actually adopted ... after a failed abortion attempt.
Bewildered, angered, and confused, Hannah turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend. Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his group of friends on a Spring Break road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past ...
How did this film do so well at the box office, with so little fanfare, you ask? Let me give you four reasons:
1. It is beautifully done. Quality and content come together with professional actors, a meaningful storyline, and realistic character development. And the soundtrack? Just be prepared to have your phone ready; Shazam will be your best friend for the next hour and a half.
2. You can take anyone and everyone with you. Think about the last time you sat together with friends or family and didn’t feel the need to apologize, fast forward, or nervously laugh off an awkward scene.
As a mom, I struggle to find wholesome entertainment suitable for my whole family. Enough dramatic intrigue for my teenage daughter, enough humor for my eleven-year-old son, and enough, well, plot for my husband.
I’m sure other families have the same problem; we’re starved for entertainment that we can enjoy together. Heaven knows I didn’t want to see "The Lorax" (again!). But the chance to sit together without dreading the gratuitous sex scene or curse word is rare.
"October Baby" refreshingly brought my family together and kept us together the whole time. The only exception might be a child not old enough to handle the heavy subject matter that includes abortion and adoption.
3. It’s the perfect date movie. Gentleman, don't harbor any illusions, "Project X" is not the perfect date movie. Heed my advice and take her to see "October Baby."
The on-screen romance will score you points, and the Zack Galafianakis-like comic relief of Chris Sligh will remind you of all the buddies you left at home on the couch for this date night out.
As one of my Concerned Men for America courageously suggested, “Go see 'October Baby.' If you’re married, take your wife. If you’re dating, take your girlfriend. Laugh when it’s time to laugh, and when it’s time to cry, don’t fight it. And if you have to, just remember that it’s allergy season. You can blame your red, puffy eyes on that.”
3. It provides thoughtful common-ground discussion on a hot-topic issue. "October Baby" accurately and compassionately portrays both sides of why the country is divided on social issues. "October Baby" portrays both sides as — gasp! — human.
And it gives the viewer the chance to think on their own two feet.
Imagine that! A film that provokes us to think for ourselves. This is something that the political debates tend to not do. Instead of polarizing the viewers, a pro-abortion viewer will see someone who is pro-life thinking through their logic, and a pro-lifer gets the chance to see the same on the other side.
I truly believe compassionate seeds will be planted here to see life as what it is: precious. The producers of "October Baby" have even assigned 10 percent of the profits of the movie to the Every Life is Beautiful Fund, which will distribute funds to frontline organizations helping women facing crisis pregnancies, life-affirming adoption agencies, and those caring for orphans.
Now, I ask you, what other movie in theaters right now is actually going to help people?
4. It is a “game changer.” You vote with your pocketbook, folks. Let’s not complain as moms and women that “there’s nothing good on TV.” If this movie does really well at the box office, you can be sure Hollywood will notice.
Hollywood needs to be reminded that there is a large market for wholesome films that help people. Conservative families will purchase, if Hollywood produces.
American families are craving alternatives to Hollywood’s films. October Baby is an unconventional portrayal of reality, forgiveness, love, and life. In fact, I think it should be called "Hallelujah, Baby."
Finally, we have a movie we can all get behind.
Penny Young Nance is CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.
Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the forthcoming book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).