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It premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2022. On February 4, 2022, Roadside Attractions acquired the film's distribution rights, with plans to release it theatrically in the fall. It was released on October 28, 2022.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 82% of 128 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The website's consensus reads, \"Although its focus is somewhat narrow, Call Jane is an entertaining and dramatically effective dramatization of a pivotal chapter in American history.\" Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 62 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating \"generally favorable reviews\".
This is Joy's entryway into the Jane Collective, a group of women in Chicago who formed an underground organization to help women get safe abortions (complete with aftercare). (\"The Janes,\" a documentary released in June of this year, tells the story of this group). Joy makes the call. A woman named Gwen (Wunmi Mosaku) picks her up, makes her put on a blindfold, and drives her to a location, where entryway is granted after a secret knock. The \"procedure\" costs $600, and the doctor, Gwen informs Joy, has a horrible bedside manner but \"he's the best we've got.\" Dr. Dean (Cory Michael Smith) lives up to his reputation. Afterwards, Joy is blindfolded again and brought to another location, where she meets the rest of the \"Janes.\" The leader is Virginia (Sigourney Weaver), a battle-scarred veteran of all kinds of cultural and political wars. She is tough, practical, and practiced at negotiating with shady characters, including the Mob (who provide low rents for their secret locations as well as, presumably, protection). Joy keeps insisting she's fine to leave, but Virginia lays down the law, and explains to her exactly what is happening to her body, and what she can expect in the coming days.
\"Call Jane\" is reminiscent of the so-called \"women's pictures\" of the 1930s and 1940s, often starring Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, or Barbara Stanwyck, where a woman goes through trials and tribulations, battered about by fate, before emerging shakily on her own two feet. \"Call Jane\" is about an important subject, but it's also a character study of one woman waking up, not just to her own strength, but to the fact that she's hidden in the suburbs for too long. It's time to help others. It's a very satisfying character arc.
The timing is good for a movie like \"Call Jane,\" although calling anything \"good\" about our perilous moment doesn't seem right. Despite the songs, the cars, the hairstyles, \"Call Jane\" doesn't feel like a \"period piece\" at all.
MARTIN: So what do you do now That's the premise of \"Call Jane,\" a new feature film based on the real-life underground network called The Janes that provided access to safe abortions in the Chicago area in the years before the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide. The film centers on the character we just told you about, a conservative suburban white housewife named Joy, who, over the course of the film, finds herself seeking out an abortion, but also searching for new ideas about who she is and what she believes. Actress Elizabeth Banks, whom you might know from her work in \"The Hunger Games\" and \"Pitch Perfect\" and many, many other television and movie shows plays Joy. And she joins us now to tell us more about the film. Elizabeth Banks, welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.
Most importantly, though, it normalizes abortion as health care. And I think it shows you - also, it breaks down the mythology that abortion health care, even back then, if it was done well, you know, is not typically life-threatening. I think that's a myth that a lot of people misunderstand. So I think partially, for me, it was just making sure that we presented abortion in its reality, which is 10 minutes later, you're, you know, she was eating spaghetti.
BANKS: Well, I think it's important to remember that abortion opponents had created these abortion deserts in huge swaths of America, you know, in the last 10 years. So while we were making the movie, the reality for women in states like Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana was that their access to abortion was such that it was nearly impossible. You know, this required travel. It required desperate measures. It required, you know, phone calls and basically a network of Janes, of modern-day Janes to help them already.
Banks is wonderful to watch as Joy transforms into an activist. This is not some big melodrama about the dangers of illegal abortion or someone getting radicalized, but a story about an women being called to duty much in the same way an average citizen would be compelled to risk it all and enlist during wartime.
Parents need to know that Call Jane is a drama about the real-life group of underground Chicago abortion facilitators who called themselves the \"Jane Collective\" in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Starring Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver, the movie follows a fictionalized suburban housewife whose dangerous pregnancy causes her to call the Jane hotline before clandestinely becoming a reproductive rights activist herself. She and the other Janes demonstrate empathy, compassion, perseverance, and teamwork. Expect a few potentially difficult or triggering scenes of women as they have abortions, although the procedure itself, while explained, is never shown in detail, and there are no graphic images. Adults drink recreationally and in one case play a strip drinking game. Two characters share a marijuana joint, and people also smoke regular cigarettes. Occasional but not overly frequent strong language includes \"s--t,\" \"f--k,\" \"f--king,\" and the homophobic slur \"d-ke.\" Families with teens can discuss the history of the abortion debate, the reality of underground abortion networks, and the overarching issue of equity in health care. Parents and teens can also research the real Jane Collective and the women who worked there together.
CALL JANE is a fictional narrative based on the true story of the Jane Collective. In pre-Roe v. Wade Chicago, homemaker Joy (Elizabeth Banks) and her junior law partner husband, Will (Chris Messina), have a teenage daughter but are also expecting a baby. Then Joy is informed that she has a life-threatening condition that will likely kill her if she carries to term. She expects the hospital to allow her to terminate the pregnancy, but when her doctor's request is denied, she panics. She considers throwing herself down the stairs or getting a back-alley abortion but then stumbles on a flyer that encourages women with unplanned pregnancies to call Jane. So Joy reaches out to the underground abortion network. On the day of her procedure, Joy meets her assigned \"Jane\" escort, Gwen (Wunmi Mosaku), the brusque but efficient doctor, Dean (Cory Michael Smith), and the Jane Collective's group of mostly White, educated feminists, led by determined organizer Virginia (Sigourney Weaver). As Joy recovers, Virginia calls in a favor to ask Joy to drive another client to the procedure location. The experience inspires Joy to help again, and soon she becomes a Jane herself, finding purpose and sisterhood.
\"I would shoot every narrative story on film if I could,\" declares New York-based cinematographer, Greta Zozula, recalling her time spent working on Call Jane, Phyllis Nagy's impassioned movie about the work of the underground Jane Collective to provide terminations at a time when they were illegal across the entire US.
\"My agent sent me the script and, being aware exactly who Phyllis is, I was automatically interested,\" says Zozula. \"But I have to admit real shock that I did not know what about the Jane Collective. Neither did many of my friends when I mentioned it to them. As I investigated and learned more, it blew my mind as to what they did and what they achieved, and I was appalled that this incredible part of history had been overlooked and forgotten for so long.
To thwart the police and anyone who might be listening in on their phone calls, counselors changed the locations of the Front and the Place weekly, asking friends to volunteer their homes for the service. While driving women from one stop to the next, they often switched lanes and traveled down narrow side streets.
That it still manages to mostly hold together is a credit to Banks, a gifted and spirited comedic actress whose dramatic work is underrated, and who brings the right amount of defiance, warmth, strength and sparkle to her role. Not all the pieces here fit into place, but her Jane is worth a call.
Banks appears in almost every scene and nails the tone. She deftly balances the buttoned-up housewife characterization with the dawning realization of her true calling as a radical. She is sympathetic and resourceful, and ratchets up the exasperation when the scene calls for it. Weaver is mostly stuck with exposition, which is needed, but she does have a standout scene with Smith where she reminds the world how sexy and alluring she can be. Wumni is a stand-in for women of color, but her steady anger is more than justified. Her performance is small, but powerful. 59ce067264