'Instant Family' Will Pull Your Heartstrings in a Good Way

What started as an older man’s joke about wanting to adopt a five-year-old instead of starting from scratch, Instant Family was inspired by writer and director Sean Anders’ real-life family. Pete (Mark Wahlberg) “accidentally” makes the joke to his wife Ellie (Rose Byrne) not wanting to be become that “old dad” everyone knows and before you know it, the two are traveling down to road toward foster care adoptions. After numerous classes taught by two caseworkers (Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro), the two meet three kids at a “foster fair” gathering. Lizzy (Isabela Moner) is the 15-year-old older sister who has protectively looked after her younger siblings Juan (Gustavo Quiroz) and Lita (Julianna Gamiz) while their mother has been incarcerated. She’s a tough cookie with trust issues. Juan is both accident prone and highly sensitive and Lita is super sweet as long as she gets to eat potato chips at every meal. Almost overnight they become an “instant family” and everything g…

October Baby is the Teen Angst Film You Want Your Kids to See

In OCTOBER BABY, Jason (Jason Burkey) and Hannah (Rachel Hendrix)
find the truth about Hannah’s birth, the power of forgiveness,
and something more. 
Provident Films

You wouldn’t expect “October Baby,” a film that deals with the subject of abortion, to be very enjoyable, but this little film has some big surprises. First, while abortion is the basis for this story, it isn’t really what “Baby” is all about. It’s a road trip movie. It’s a romance. It’s a movie about family, friendship, forgiveness and healing. It’s the one teen angst movie that you would be happy for your kids to see.

“October Baby” is about Hannah (Rachel Hendrix), a college freshman and inspiring actress who begins to struggle with a strange illness involving asthma and seizures. After a series of events, Hannah discovers the shocking truth that she was adopted and that she was a survivor of a botched abortion attempt.  With the help of a childhood friend Jason (Jason Burkey), she goes on a road trip to find her biological mother. To complicate things further, Jason has a girlfriend and Hannah’s over-protective father, Jacob (John Schneider, “The Dukes of Hazzard”) doesn’t trust him.

Hannah is played by Rachel Hendrix in her first starring role in a feature film, but you would never know it. She is beautiful as she is talented; she could almost pass for Anne Hathaway’s sister. Her expressions are spot on. Her repo ire with her co-stars looks and feels very natural. Schneider is especially good as Hannah’s father. He is a strong man who holds secrets. He will do anything to protect his daughter, but by trying to protect her, he manages to harm her further. Jasmine Guy (“A Different World”) plays a nurse with a very nice monologue, but it would have been great to see more of her.

Though this is a faith-based film, it is neither religious nor preachy. The writing is surprisingly good. Even with such a heavy subject matter, the film has a number of lighter scenes with good humor. Most of the characters in the film are playing Christians, but none of the lines or scenes feels forced or phony. There is one great scene where Hannah and Jason end up in hotel room together, with only one bed. Jason does the honorable thing by picking the floor, but the two feel so uncomfortable with the situation, that they end up sleeping in the lobby.

“Baby” starts out strong, starts to lag a bit in the middle and then ends on a very sweet and tearful note. At least on my part. The story has just enough mystery in it to keep it fresh. Overall, “Baby” is a fine discussion starter for you whole family.

“Baby is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material. The producers of OCTOBER BABY have assigned 10% 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.

promote my blog BrandBacker Member