Call Jane

Where I Watched it: iTunes

English Audio Description?: No

This year, I was treated to a fantastic documentary that showed me a part of history I was unfamiliar with. That documentary is The Janes. So, I was interested in a fictional story based around the same concept, even if it didn’t have audio description. The cast here is great, so maybe that all will be enough.

And for the most part, it was as good as it could be without audio description. The film centers around a woman who really isn’t necessarily looking to get an abortion until she’s told that her survival rate is not great. There’s an uncomfortably high percentage that having this baby will kill her. So, she seeks to have an abortion during a time when that was outlawed.

She petitions, but a room full of men talk around her as if she wasn’t even there, and gets denied her only legal recourse. That’s when she finds out about a network of women running an underground abortion operation, and she seeks out their help. At first, that’s all she wants. But, as she recognizes how the service can help women, she fakes a double life with her husband so she can be one of the Janes.

Elizabeth Banks does some really strong work here. It’s a shame that she wasn’t at least in the conversation for Best actress, or even Sigourney Weaver for Supporting Actress. I’m not sure either would have made the Final Cut, but sometimes it’s nice to just be in the discussion.

Of course, this film is not for everyone, and likely me just reviewing it is polarizing. But I review films. That’s just what I do. I’m not throwing Call Jane in the air just to make a statement, I thought the story and acting were good. It’s a well made film. The problem is that it lacks audio description, and at times, I had a hard time following what was happening. Sometimes I felt like I missed out on a visual cue. Not to mention, every single time we are denied audio description, we are denied basic knowledge that sighted people take for granted in every single film. What does this person look like? What clothes are they wearing? What does their house look like? What kind of car are they driving? Is it day or night? Did someone just enter the room, or leave it? I could go on and on, but the fact is that every single film and television series should be offering audio description, and my gig should be evaluating the efficiency of that. Not just coming here to discuss whether or not a film is even watchable.

i would say Call Jane is watchable. I’m not going to tell my blind community that it’s the easiest thing to follow in the world, but I’ll say you can get enough out if it should you have a burning desire to throw caution to the wind. That does not excuse the lack of audio description, as my overall enjoyment of the film is hurt by the lack of AD. I’m sure the filmmakers always want their work in the best representation. When I’m struggling to follow, that’s not the best representation.

Final Grade: B

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