It is the summer of 1968, and Joy (Elizabeth Banks) is accompanying her lawyer husband Will (Chris Messina) to a dinner at one of his partner’s house. “Call Jane review movie“.
While there, she hears the sound of a violent protest occurring outside and goes to investigate. Joy anxiously hovers behind a line of policemen, who are in a stand-off with the yippies. All of whom are loudly chanting “The whole world is watching!” Joy was protected from all the social and political turmoil that was going on in the country. She facedShock and anxiety but what Open up her face suggest is that there’s something else present other than just being repelledShe’s more attracted to interested by what she sees.
The scene in “Call Jane” is just one example of what the film does best. There could have been more similar scenes included, but overall it’s a good movie. Although Roe v. Wade has given women more choices now, this film takes place before that law was passed and shows how desperate some women were to get abortions–having to go into illegal and dangerous territory where they put their lives at risk. The timing of “Call Jane” is off. While Joy’s personal journey is essential—and central—it also takes place in a greater context that she has been able to sidestep until now. The film’s protagonist, Jane, faces various challenges that eventually lead her to discover hidden talents. As a result, “Call Jane” is not simply a tale about one person–which works in the movie’s favor.
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Joy and Will have a happy married life with their teenage daughter, Charlotte (Grace Edwards). Although Joy is pregnant again, shes feels something might be wrong. After receiving a diagnosis of congestive heart failure, her doctor told her the only way to reverse it would be “therapeutic termination.” Joy has a 50/50 chance of surviving if she terminates her pregnancy. What follows is an ethical debate about what measures should be taken in order toJoy’s best interests – including those of her unborn child. When Joy and Will have to go in front of the hospital board (all men) to get approval for a life-saving procedure, their complacent world is thrown into chaos. The members of the board talk about Joy as if she’s not in the room and vote unanimously against approving the procedure. All Will can say to the dying Joy is, “I wish I could fix this,” even though he knows he can’t. It was complete serendipity that Joy saw the flier while walking down the street: “Pregnant and need assistance? Contact Jane!”
Joy was one of the first women to join the Jane Collective, a group of Chicago-based women who started an underground organization dedicated to helping other women get abortions safely and with aftercare. The documentary “The Janes,” released earlier this year, tells the story of a group of women who became friends through motherhood. Joy is the one who initiates the call. Gwen (Wunmi Mosaku) pick Joy up, blindfolding her before driving to an undisclosed location. After a secret knock, they’re allowed in and Joy is informed that the “procedure” will cost $600. Dr. Dean (Cory Michael Smith), who Gwen tells has bad bedside manner but is “the best we’ve got,” lives up to his reputation. After being blindfolded for a second time, Joy meets the rest of the “Janes” in another location. The leader, Virginia (Sigourney Weaver), has experienced many cultural and political wars. She is tough, practical, and knows how to negotiate with seedy characters – like the Mob (who provide cheap rents for their hidden locations in addition to probable protection). Joy thinks she can leave soon, but Virginia stops her and tells Joy step-by-step what is happening to her body and what will happen in the days ahead.
In films that similarly touch on the topic of illegal abortions, such as Eliza Hittman’s “Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always,” or “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” follows a single character’s efforts to get an abortion. In “Call Jane,” the focus is on Joy’s experience. The first half-hour of the film covers her introduction to theJane Collective, and then we see her getting more involved as she starts driving clients to appointments. Though it starts slowly, Joy eventually becomes a key player in the organization. At first, she is hesitant. “You’re going about this the wrong way,” Joy told Virginia. However, she soon finds herself in over her head, with more responsibilities than she at first thinks she can handle. Will is, as always, unaware of what his wife is up to.
This is Phyllis Nagy’s first feature film, although she has directed a movie for television in the past. Haynes’ “Carol,” adapted from Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, received an Oscar nomination for its screenplay which was written by Nagy. She is attentive to the details, and aware of what the story needs. The tone could be more consistent, and there are a couple storylines that don’t add anything. Charlotte experiences an unbelievable change in character, and the boozy next-door neighbor Lana (Kate Mara) seems unnecessary. She only serves as a contrast and reminder of how bored suburban women were during that tumultuous era. Though the needle-drops are often on the nose, Malvina Reynold’s “What’s Goin’ On Down There” is used effectively to create an amusing tone. However, sometimes the zippy peppy Nacy uses feels like avoidance rather than confrontation.
It’s time to give Elizabeth Banks the credit she deserves. Over the past two decades, she has delivered some great performances in a wide range of roles. She achieved recognition with her role in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” which was a small part, but she gave an exceptional performance. In 2015, she played leading roles in “Magic Mike XXL” and “Love & Mercy,” representative of two very different movie genres. From a critical perspective, her performance in “Love & Mercy” is often overshadowed by that of other actors, though it deserves just as much recognition. “Love & Mercy” is especially difficult for Banks because the entire performance requires her to be open and closely listen to others, but she does an amazing job. Her role in “Call Jane” is much easier for her as she only needs to hold the center. She’s very accessible to emotions–her own and other people’s–and always takes things in; you can tell by looking at her face.
The film “Call Jane” is similar to the 1930s and 1940s movies typically starring Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, or Barbara Stanwyck that follow a woman’s journey through struggles before she can stand on her own again. “Call Jane” is both a story about an important issue while simultaneously being a character study of one woman coming to terms with her own hidden strength and capability. After years spent in the suburbs, it’s time for her to help others. It’s an incredibly satisfying character arc that left me feeling extremely pleased.
This is one of Sigourney Weaver’s best roles in recent years, and she absolutely nails it. She exudes authority onscreen: she’s compelling, strong, but also gentle. Dr. Dean tries to overcharge Virginia for his services, but she haggles him down to a fairer price. It’s better to say less about it, but not only does it demonstrate Virginia’s skill as a negotiator, it also shows that Dr. Dean is a stranger and more interesting character than he first appears. People are never just one thing. People are not just their attitudes. People can change, and sometimes they’re forced to change. Things are not always as they seem.
“Call Jane” is eerily relevant to our current climate, despite being set in the past.
Writers: Hayley SchoreRoshan Sethi
Elizabeth BanksSigourney WeaverChris Messina