Call Jane

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.

  • Released: 2022-10-27
  • Runtime: 121 minutes
  • Genre: Drama, History
  • Stars: Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina, Wunmi Mosaku, Kate Mara, Cory Michael Smith, Grace Edwards, John Magaro, Aida Turturro, Emily Creighton, Gina Jun, Rebecca Henderson, Bianca D'Ambrosio
  • Director: Phyllis Nagy
 Comments
  • SnoopyStyle - 26 December 2022
    gained relevance
    It's 1968 Chicago. Criminal lawyer Will (Chris Messina) and his pregnant wife Joy (Elizabeth Banks) are reserved politically. Her health deteriorates and she needs a medical abortion. The hospital board rejects her request and she goes seeking back alley help. She finds a flyer to Call Jane, a women's organization headed by Virginia (Sigourney Weaver).

    If this came out a couple of years ago, it would be irrelevant or scaremongering. With the recent court ruling, this has gained new relevance. It does get a bit preachy, but the politics do lend itself to preaching. First, I would change the opening section. It makes them sound dumb and disengaged. They seem to be a smart couple, but the movie makes them political idiots. They are religious. The opening could have the family attend church. My other big problem is the pumpkin. I get the attempt at humor, but the movie is better without the attempt. This is not American Pie and the joke is a little close to that. All in all, it's a movie for a certain crowd and not for the other crowd.
  • samabc-31952 - 17 December 2022
    Well-made, Well-acted, True events, The Janes
    She had a life threatening pregnancy. But the hospital board turns her down when she needed an emergency abortion. She had limited options. Year 1968, 5 years before the Supreme Court ruled under Roe v Wade decision that the constitution conferred the right to have abortion. She visits a shady clinic, considers falling down the stairs and finally finds a flier near the shady clinic she visits: Call Jane. Inspired by true events, this period drama tells a story of a group of staunch and unapologetic grassroots women activists and their ideology of altruism superseding the judgements. When a woman needs help, the underlying reason is not important. Well made and well acted! Fantastic job by screenwriters Roshan Sethi and Hayley Schore for lightening up the serious subject with some humor and still maintaining its quintessence. In today's context, this seems so timely.

    This is based on The Jane Collective, a clandestine group in Chicago between 1969 and 1973. It facilitated an estimated 11,000 illegal but safe abortions. It is not just about empowering women as this concept was introduced just in 1985. Women have fought their battles since ages whether it was for suffrage, education, employment or for something as basic a right as abortion. A great watch.
  • nogodnomasters - 14 December 2022
    The Whole World is Watching
    The production opens in August 1968 to the background of the DNC protests. William Griffen (Chris Messina) is an attorney and his wife Joy (Elizabeth Banks) assists him from home. While dancing in the kitchen with her daughter Charlotte (Grace Edwards) to the Velvet Underground she passes out. Joy has a heart condition which is made worse by her first trimester pregnancy. It is possible the pregnancy could kill her, then again maybe not. A medical review board in convened to determine if they can terminate the pregnancy. The life of the fetus outweighed that of the mother. Desperate, Joy seeks help and sees a poster to "Call Jane." She ends up getting her pregnancy terminated as she lies to her family. She had a miscarriage. Virginia (Sigourney Weaver) runs the illegal clinic and calls Joy to drive just one person. She manages to suck Jane into ladies club as she gets more and more involved.

    The film is designed to be timely in light of the recent court decisions. The script was not hard hitting. You did not see the mishaps. It was not hard hitting. There was some talk about races and genocide and free abortions for poor people, but it was all quickly done.

    Guide: F-word. No nudity. Implied sex scene.
  • flingebunt - 14 December 2022
    Turns out middle class white women can save anyone and everyone
    In the US, every social cause requires a white person to save the day, and ideally it will be a blonde middle class white woman. Normally they are saving African Americans, but in Call Jane, a group of dedicated, intelligent and committed activists who run an underground abortion service have a problem, and only a mousy naive blonde middle class white woman can save the day.

    Hooray for middle class white women, without them, no problems will ever be solved. Aside from that, it barely touches on the stories of backgrounds behind the underground abortion services of the 1960s. We don't find out the story of the dedicated feminist, the black activist or the Catholic nun. So ummm, just watch a documentary instead.
  • antoniotierno - 13 December 2022
    Good rendering of a tory set in 1968
    The good achievement of this 1960s-set drama is the transformation of an historical account of illegal abortion into a strong movie of personal empowerment. Elizabeth Banks takes starring and acts perfectly as usually. The material is fascinating and although the director Phyllis Nagy (who was Oscar nominated for her screenplay for Carol) leans into the positivity in Joy's character arc, she never once denies the underlying outrage of her predicament. It helps also that Banks is on winning form, and ably supported by Sigourney Weaver as a flinty Jane veteran with a welter of one-liners. Overall it works.
  • martinpersson97 - 9 December 2022
    One of the better films of the year
    This small scale drama is a very thought-provoking experience, directed by an incredible director and showcasing legendary actors, it's one for the ages and showcases a very important story.

    The script is very clever with very well-written dialogue and the cinematography, editing and cutting delivers in every way as usual with this director.

    It is definitely a film that should be experienced, whether you are just in it for a very artistic and well-made cinematic experience or just to appreciate and be astounded by this incredible and in a lot of ways, very tragic story.

    It is one for the ages that I could definitely see winning an Oscar.
  • ivantheeditor - 6 December 2022
    Literally a MUST-see!
    This movie should be shown in ALL schools as part of the required curriculum. It's not a fancy, flashy, big budget production. It's a modest movie that tells a great story. A very important one. And it does a mighty fine job at doing that too. Sure, we all know those times existed not that long ago in our history but most people don't know what it was REALLY like... what those women went through, how difficult it was, how expensive, etc. This movie felt like it told the story the right way. With a lot of compassion. It's not here to make a ton of money, it's just here to enlighten and spread a message. The acting from Banks and Weaver is the usual/expected top notch, no surprises there, with Banks sometimes telling an entire story with just a slight shift on her face. This is not a fast action packed movie and I see that a lot of people complained about that which I don't understand. It felt like it had plenty of intensity in it for me and it kept me watching from beginning to end. There was always something interesting and new happening. Sure, there were a couple of plot holes (abortion advertisements at a bus stop in the 50's??) but they needed to get the story across so I get it.

    Overall this was an excellent movie. Please enjoy it responsibly!
  • marinicart - 6 December 2022
    Let's normalize abortion
    As other folks said, not the best piece of cinema nor the movie of the year. The topic and story have a lot of potential, but it fails to go in depth and develop. On the plus side, I think it's a movie that we need. An average movie to normalize abortion, not a documentary nor hyper dramatic approach.

    Things that I liked:
    • aesthetic and photography
    • very good portrait of how a woman feels in a room full of doctors
    -great balance between comedy and drama

    Things I didn't like:
    • the superficial approach
    • the lack of disclaimers that abortion needs to be performed under medical supervision
    • the lack of resources as it's a great opportunity to share with people how to find a doctor, clinic or support group
    • too politically correct.
  • JohnRayPeterson - 3 December 2022
    You will or should get an added perspective on the subject of the movie, one that is not focused on a right, but on a need.
    If you are looking for an entertaining movie mostly, you will be disappointed probably, but if you have an open mind and appreciate the input that movies can and do provide for expanding one's understanding of life's great challenges, then you should not be disappointed. That along with this review's headline is my conclusion, upfront.

    Firstly, the IMDb synopsis and especially the storyline further below it will provide you sufficient information to decide if you want to see this movie. I was swayed mostly by the three lead actors whose names usually will make me consider watching the movies in which they perform, namely Sigourney Weaver, Chris Messina and the lead actor also, Elizabeth Banks. It is not any of those three's best performances, in my opinion, but the characters they play and their situation or the circumstances depicted may be the factors that made me immerse myself in the period, 50 years ago, and especially in the battle they fought, the one for women's right to an abortion. I've been, in principle, always a supporter of the cause and for the rights. The movie gave however something more than justification, it gave me the feeling that made my reasons for supporting the cause more human and definitely more real. I can only imagine how this movie will make women viewers feel, as I am but a man. I'm serious because the story was a serious one and still the fight for those rights are serious today, in America without a doubt.

    In June of this year, 2022, America got a shot to its perceived rights, well they were not so 'acquired' anymore, when the Supreme Court overturned the defining 1973 landmark decision we all know as Roe vs Wade. It was a setback that justifiably angered most women and anyone really supportive of the needed rights. I will repeat the word 'need' and 'needed' because it was what this movie allowed me to appreciate with greater sensitivity. The story of the women in the movie is no different than the actual circumstances that existed then, exist today and always will. The story paints that picture well enough, not like a photograph but perhaps like a Van Gogh painting might to the discerning eye.

    It may or not change some minds, but it's the best source for a getting a perspective called for, one beyond simply believing in a principle but understanding a need. The movie was released in Oct-2022 after the Dobbs case proceedings, the one the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in June 2022; it was fair timing for the release which many, I read, wanted released sooner, not that it would have made a difference. The movie however reinforced the ensuing political debates before US midterm elections. Movies such as this one are part of what makes cinema a valued art, even when it's not Oscar material. After seeing the movie online, I was compelled to write a review; I would be thrilled if it convinced anyone, one would be good, to watch it in turn.
  • jamiesonrendall - 28 November 2022
    Visceral and necessary
    This is a very compelling and extremely necessary story to tell particularly in todays climate. Whilst fortunate to live in a country who no longer relies on 'Jane', the constant attacks on choice mean stories like this are crucial.

    This is not a crash and bash narrative filled with thrilling almost caught or heavy protest. This is the everyday for women seeking medical treatment in the time period. I think a number of reviews were looking for something more sensationalised and dramatic, which yes this film could have been but doing so would have risked the films message. If this film had gone for drama it could easily fallen into the hands of anti-abortionist. Instead the slow burn and the methodical recounts allow for this film to point out the flaws of unequal treatment whilst advocating pro-choice messaging.

    This film would never have done well on cinema release but it's an excellent art house or at home experience when you can sit and resonate on the message.
  • chefmeeshell-1 - 16 November 2022
    Elizabeth Banks, Sigourney Weaver's performance are stellar!
    This movie should have been released a bit sooner for sure! The always great Sigourney, ("Virginia,") and perfect performance of Elizabeth, ("Joy,") definitely made up for the slowness of this very important film. I was born in '68, my late mother met my dad at one of these Call Jane places in '67 through college in L. A.! They ended up going to Mexico to do it legally w/my Grandpa and my dad posed as her boyfriend (the one responsible). That is how they met and fell in love! This should be shown in Sex Ed class now across the country. The movie builds up again towards the end and the family dynamic becomes more revealed with, "Joy's," new important role in society and her way of balancing her role as a wife and mother. I watched it at home, however, seeing it in a theater may have had a stronger affect on me.
  • ops-52535 - 16 November 2022
    wasnt this a shot...
    Of anger towards underbelly of the supreme courts of the states and federation of united states of america, search me if im wrong but this is the new wave of proabortion activism coming to us through the silverscreen media, the cause is important and the story will for sure lit a flame of anger, hope, love and justice in the end...

    i shall not make an ethical inclination onto the abortion issues, other than say that many lives and destinies has been saved since the supreme court descisions in the cases between roe vs. Wade and doe vs bolton in 1973, and that the conservatismic leap back to medevalism of 2022 where a comite of men (and a few women) shall decide how a life shall preside, that is an utter violence against womanhood in general.

    A film that every probono lawyer should see, a film that every woman with her own wits should see, because this is what will come to be a reality in the years to come.

    Its a neat and heartfelt fictious but ever so realfelt story about how things where back then in the 50's and 60's, its an unbloody and quite pure and simplistic as a natural life shall be, boldly presented by a cast of well known actors that dares to choose side in this fog of war on protecting the individual womans rights. So from a grumpy old nursing veteran man its a recommend, its not a perfect plot but they will come in other features.
  • arfdawg-1 - 16 November 2022
    I Mishmash of Ideas that Fall Flat
    I had a hard time watching this movie.

    Not because of the subject matter, but because it's a very strange mish mash of things. Set in the 60's. The only thing 60 about the movie is the hair bob. The cars are largely from the '50s. The sets also look like the 50's or, oddly, current.

    That lack of attention to that detail sort of stuck in my craw.

    Then there is Sigorney Weaver. She made a name for herself in the Alien movies, bt she's really a B level actress. Honestly, I'm really surprised she still has a career. It's hard watching her deliver her lines because she's not all that talented.

    In the end, there is a reason this movie took so long to find a release after being shown at Sundance.

    It's just not that good.
  • rverdonschot - 15 November 2022
    Well acted, but lacks tension and has very weird upbeat tone.
    What a weird movie. I understand why somebody would want to tell this story and it certainly is an important story to tell. But for such a serious subject this is somehow a very upbeat film. The tone seemed completely wrong to me. It looks like this group of ladies is having fun with what their doing. I understand they would take pride in their cause, but I would think a movie about illegal abortions would be a bit more serious and a bit less witty. Also, despite their actions being dangerous and illegal, there is literally NO tension in the film. There is bo threat of being caught, despite Call Jane posters plastered all over the city. Even Joy's husband doesn't seem to care that much after finding out, he just kisses the woman next door for some reason, a plotpoint that quickly goes nowhere and get's on with things. Race is dragged into the discussion for about two seconds and then forgotten about almost inmediately. And then... the movie skips a few years, all is well and resolved and the story is over. Weaver and Banks kept me engaged enough to sit out this overlong movie, but man... it is a weird film and kind of boring as well.