Review: The characters in timely pre-Roe abortion drama ‘Call Jane’ never feel like people. They are just facades, and the actors on those facades never feel like actual people.
Call Jane (2009): In the opening scene, an ambulance drives to a hospital for Jane to have a procedure called a D&E. That sounds like a euphemism for an abortion. But if you’ve seen Call Jane’s title card, you know it gets much more disturbing: “A woman is being killed.”
The abortion takes place at a clinic in Canada. “A woman is being killed” is its tagline. It’s the film’s central thematic point, but it also gives its characters their identities. It’s a post-abortion film, and in that sense it’s a very timely one: In May 2009, Canada became the first industrialized nation to approve assisted suicide (the right to kill yourself) for terminally ill patients. That ruling was passed under controversial circumstances — it was introduced by a Liberal government but later overturned by a Conservative.
The movie depicts the D&E in the most brutal and callous ways possible. It’s as though the audience is watching a documentary made by an angry, anti-abortion activist that has found some pro-choice activist as a co-producer. And once they get past the film’s opening gambit of a woman’s death, Call Jane doesn’t go much further in depicting the gruesome and often bloody procedures it envisions as the ultimate way to say goodbye to a woman’s life. But it does so in ways that allow it to get by with its anti-abortion message without having to confront its anti-humanity message.
In the film’s opening scene, a young woman is rushed to have a procedure called a D&E. It sounds like a euphemism for an abortion. But if you’ve seen Call Jane’s title card, you know it gets much more disturbing: “A woman is being killed.”
That’s our protagonist, Jane (Mila Kunis), sitting on a chair in the clinic with her father (Eric Bana). She’s a young mother who has had an abortion by a young volunteer doctor, and is being driven to the clinic with her father in a moving car. On the other side of the hospital, men — men who are clearly not Jane’s father or her husband — are in the waiting room with other