Sunday 11 June 2023

Movie Review: Call Jane (2022)

Genre: Abortion Drama
Director: Phyllis Nagy
Starring: Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina, Kate Mara
Running Time: 121 minutes

Synopsis: In Chicago of 1968, Joy (Elizabeth Banks) is a middleclass housewife married to lawyer Will (Chris Messina). They have a teenaged daughter Charlotte, and Joy is pregnant again, but a health scare triggers a stark choice: continuing with the pregnancy will endanger her life. With abortions illegal, she connects with the "Call Jane" collective of women providing secret abortion services. After her procedure, Joy meets the group's organizer Virginia (Sigourney Weaver) and starts to volunteer her time, causing a strain in her relationships with Will and Charlotte.

What Works Well: Inspired by the real-life Jane Collective, director Phyllis Nagy crafts a topical reminder of the US abortion landscape before 1973's Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision. Mixing societal, feminist, and racial themes, this is a celebration of women's resiliency in the face of man-made laws, male-dominated hospital board decisions, men profiteering at the expense of women, and a patriarchal home environment. Elizabeth Banks as Joy brings the abortion trauma to mainstream living rooms with a minimum of melodrama, and Sigourney Weaver presents a robust counterpoint of activism.

What Does Not Work As Well: Although most of the tone is factual, moments of preachiness do surface. The running time is a good 15 minutes longer than necessary, and sub-plots involving Joy's daughter Charlotte and widowed next-door neighbour Lana (Kare Mara) flounder.

Conclusion: Important, impactful, and impressive.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome reader comments about this post.