Monday, April 8, 2013

She's Having A Baby - Film Review

When people think about films about having a baby, titles like Father Of The Bride Part II and Nine Months come up. These film take a humorous look at pregnancy and having a baby. Unfortunately these films, like many others, steer away from representing the difficult realities of these experiences and fail to deal with the more challenging and complex emotional issues relating to having a baby.

One film that is not as well known but always shows up in lists of films that have to do with childbirth is John Hughes’ She’s Having A Baby. Like Hughes’ other works, this film is based in Chicago, touches on the challenges of growing up and has some powerful honest insights into life and relationships.

This films stars Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth McGovern as a couple that falls in love, gets married, buys a house and has a baby. There’s nothing really extraordinary about the plot but the way that its told is unique.

All of this film is through the perspective of Kevin Bacon’s character Jake. There are cut-scenes and altered reality as Jake deals with adulthood. He doubts whether he should get married, he’s unsure about settling in the suburbs, the job he takes seems like its crushing his spirits and his relationship with his wife doesn’t seem very loving.

Jake wanders through life, not fitting in; trying hard to reconcile his doubts with the responsibilities he’s taken on as an “adult.” Then his wife Kristy gets pregnant in the last third of the film. The relationships between Kristy and Jake seem to get better leading up to the childbirth scene.

Hughes can’t resist making one more childbirth cliché as Jake drives off to the hospital leaving Kristy behind but once they get to the hospital, the film takes on a very different tone.

Things don’t go as planned as is often the case with labor, and Jake is stuck out in the waiting room as Kristy has an emergency caesarean section. As Jake sits in the waiting room, his life with Kristy flashes in his memory. We see scenes from earlier in the film but instead of them fighting, we seen them laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

Kate Bush wrote and performed “This Woman’s Work,” for this scene. This song is full of hope and belief. It’s a song that honors the strength of women and captures the complexity of the emotions in this scene.

She’s Having A Baby is a flawed film and what it’s trying to say is more powerful than how it says it.  Regardless, John Hughes is right.  Sometimes we don't see the happiness that's right in front of us and sometimes our dreams are out of perspective from the realities that fulfill our lives in ways that our dreams never could.

A lot of people have told me that having a baby will change the way I view my life.  Is having a baby really going to change my entire perspective?  I don't know.  But after watching She's Having A Baby, I'm looking forward to that change. 

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