Though it seems as Roe was settled law (that is until this past June) forever, the truth is that it was just a hair’s breadth away from the half-century mark.
The new movie, Call Jane, is based on a true story. It takes place in 1968 in Chicago. Joy (Elizabeth Banks) is a middle-aged, happily married homemaker with one child and another on the way. During a visit to the doctor, she is told that her pregnancy is endangering her life. She has two choices: end the pregnancy or take a chance that both she and the fetus survive.
Naturally, the procedure is denied by the hospital board. Taking the underground route, fate leads Joy to the Janes. Among them are Virginia (Sigourney Weaver) and Gwen (Wunmi Mosaku). The Janes are a collective of women whose goal is to provide safe (and illegal) abortions.
Joy quickly gets involved with the Janes, causing her husband, daughter, and neighbor/bestie Lana (Kate Mara) to wonder what she is up to. The question is, when will Joy fess up and will she have to be bailed out of jail?
I hate to say it, but I have mixed feelings about this film.
What’s good about the movie is that it is not about politics, but the story of an average woman having to make an incredibly difficult decision. Then, as now, it points out the obvious: those who have money will have the ability to end the pregnancy safely. Those who don’t will have to resort to dangerous and life-threatening methods.
What’s bad about it is the lack of tension and the slow pacing. I wanted to feel Joy’s anxiety and apprehension about what she was getting involved in, but I didn’t. I also wanted to feel like the police were forever on their heels and the Janes had to be one step ahead of them.
Do I recommend it? Maybe.
Call Jane is presently in theaters.