‘Call Jane’ Review – Sundance 2022

Call Jane: Directed by: Phyllis Nagy

SYNOPSIS: A married woman with an unwanted pregnancy lives in a time in American where she can’t get a legal abortion and works with a group of suburban women to find help.

This was a film I was incredibly interested in checking out. The cast is stacked with the likes of Elizabeth Banks, Kate Mara and Sigourney Weaver and tackles extremely difficult issues that are still relevant today. Besides the cast, I was genuinely interested to check out this story and learn more about some of the terrible things women have to deal with even today. The film is set in the middle 20th century America, but lots of the themes and topics remain in modern day America.

‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.’

The cast here is really the star, rightfully so, as said above, this was the main draw for me to check out this film. Elizabeth Banks is the clear star here and delivers one of here best performances and Kate Mara, no matter how big or small the role, delivered a really good and solid performance, but the star of the show is honestly Sigourney Weaver. She is the true star of the show bringing unexpected lightheartedness and charisma to a film that should be the opposite of that. 

This is probably the hardest and most uncomfortable film of the festival so far and that is a very important factor. The themes and topics discussed are very real and very important, but also at times very hard to talk about. I think this film does a great job at unexpectedly making the film uplifting and funny at times while also being an extremely serious drama. This story could work as a serious drama, but with the type of tone that the writers took, it made it more open and easy to consume.

While being incredibly impactful, the writing does struggle. The pacing really does drag here and the story is highly predictable to the point of accurately predicting story points well before they fully reveal themselves. That combination steals from the huge potential that Call Jane had. In the end, the film as a whole did a really effective job at introducing us to these topics and being a really effective vehicle for revealing the struggles that women are still dealing with today, but poorly executed those ideas when we reached the end of the story.

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Wilson Webb

FINAL: Call Jane is a very interesting look at abortion in America as well as the issues that women face even today in our country. The performances especially from Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver are top notch and the lighthearted nature of the writing is very welcome and palatable. However, the writing does not ever reach its full potential due to large pacing issues and high predictability of the story. A really interesting project with a lot of potential.

Point Breakdown:

15 for Writing: 11

15 for Performances: 13

10 for Entertainment: 7

10 for Direction: 8

10 for Emotions: 8

5 for Cinematography: 3

5 for Score: 4

5 for Pacing: 3

15 for Technical: 10

5 for Rewatchability: 3

5 for Automatic: 5

Call Jane: 75/100 | Grade: C

Jack Lautaret is a banana meter approved film critic, the founder of the Jack Lautaret YouTube Channel and host of the Finatic Film Review Podcast. He is a member of the Online Film and Television Association. Twitter: @JackLautaret

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