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CALL JANE (2022)

Release Date: 10/28/22
Genre: Drama/History

Studio: Roadside Attractions

"A married woman with an unwanted pregnancy lives in a time in America where she can't get a legal abortion and works with a group of suburban women to find help."


Call Jane is a timely abortion story because all abortion stories should be important and timely, but this one seems to come at the perfect time. I can only fantasize about a time in the world where women’s bodies are not regulated, but unfortunately we are far from that, and Call Jane shows us how far we’ve come, yet how little things have changed. Elizabeth Banks plays Joy, a 1960s housewife with a surprise pregnancy. Joy is mostly happily married to her husband, Will (Chris Messina), a successful lawyer, and the two have a teenage daughter, Charlotte (Grace Edwards). They live a quiet, typical suburban family life.


When Joy finds out she is pregnant, she is shocked, but more than anything her world is turned upside down from illness. She quickly realizes that she is unwell, and she finds out the only way to rid herself of the illness is to abort the pregnancy. Infuriating but predictable, the hospital board of directors decides, blatantly in her presence, that this unborn fetus is more important than her wellness, her life. She is not granted the healthcare that is necessary for her safety. She will be forced to carry the pregnancy. Joy stumbles on a simple flyer that otherwise would have been overlooked if she was not in this predicament, and that’s when she discovers Jane. 


Joy initially plays the ashamed elitist card after she receives her life-saving abortion. She thinks her situation is different because her abortion was medically necessary, unlike some other women she meets at the “underground” abortion clinic run by hippies, activists, pregnant women and even a nun. Joy is accepted without question or judgment and she begins to change her outlook. She becomes more and more involved in the clinic, which she hides from her family by telling them she is attending an art class. She becomes so much involved that she is so frustrated by the one young, male doctor that controls their access and funds to abortion, that she uncovers a secret about the doctor and then plans to teach herself how to give abortions; talk about a full 360! 


Can Joy actually perform successful, safe abortions? How long can they keep this underground health care clinic a secret? Will her family find out the truth about her abortion and her “art class”? Although the narrative is overall safe and predictable, these events inspired by true events and real women are inspiring and an imperative piece of women’s history that should not be overlooked. 

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