Parents' Guide to

Call Jane

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Engaging, well-acted drama about underground abortions.

Movie R 2022 121 minutes
Call Jane Movie Poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

nice moive pg-13 not R

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Banks gives a commendable performance as a composite character who, while appealing, ultimately isn't as compelling as the real women who were part of the Jane movement. By centering on the fictionalized characters of suburban mom Joy and veteran activist Virginia, director Phyllis Nagy (working from a screenplay by Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi) ages up the Janes' main activists (they were largely college age in real life). But this allows Joy to become a stand-in for the average educated, middle-class White woman of the time. She loves her husband and daughter, but she wants her own purpose and work, and the Janes provide that. Messina is believable as a new partner who's genuinely confused by his usually attentive wife's disappearing act. Weaver stands out as the seemingly all-knowing, no-nonsense director of the Janes, and Mosaku, whose Gwen is based on a real person, is memorable as the group's sole Black activist, who tries (mostly in vain, alas) to get the Janes to see how they're leaving behind low-income and Black and Brown women.

Greta Zozula's cinematography smartly uses close-ups during the procedure scenes, and the soundtrack is on-point for the time period, with a wonderful inclusion of Jennifer Warnes' cover of "Let the Sunshine In" at the end of the film. The first two-thirds of the story are well paced, even though the script ignores obvious questions about why Joy and Will would be having a second baby 15 years after their first, or how the Janes got started and ended up vaguely protected by mobsters and cops. But by the last act, there are a few tonal shifts and iffy plot twists. Joy is portrayed as being singular in her essential contribution to the Janes, but in real life, more than one volunteer rose up to do what she did. The movie should inspire more research into the real women who risked their lives -- and eventually went to jail -- to provide safe access to abortions. HBO's documentary The Janes provides a comprehensive view of the movement and features interviews with the real Janes.

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