Ask for Jane, directed by Rachel Carey, is a powerful piece about the simple procedure that is abortion. Written by Cait Cortelyou, Ask for Jane focuses on a group of young ladies who are passionate about the rights of women and their bodies. Starring Cait Cortelyou and Cody Horn, this is a timely feature that serves as a reminder of our fight for these rights, especially in this day and age when we see history repeating itself. (SYJ: 5/5)
Review written by FF2 Media Intern Sophia Y. Jin
The film opens in 1969, where several women are desperate and unsure of what to do to escape their predicament. Panicked, they see self harm, or worse, committing suicide, as the only way to solve their problems. “Rose” (Cait Cortelyou) is a student in Chicago who lives in a girls’ dormitory along with “Janice” (Cody Horn). These two individuals are very different in character: one is a goody-two-shoes and the other has a devil-may-care air around her.
Despite their differences, they decide and agree on one major thing: abortions should not be illegal. They come to the same conclusion that it is much better to be safe and have an abortion that won’t be life threatening than to to commit suicide out of fear.
When Rose and Janice come across a student who tries to kill herself, they promise to find a doctor who would agree to help. This experience sparks a passion in both girls to aid these helpless women. And thus, they begin the Jane Collective. Rose becomes a port of call for these women, whereby she takes on the name “Jane” and connects those in need of an abortion with a doctor who can provide it. Asking for a neutral name such as Jane means that no one has to outwardly
disclose over the phone that they need an abortion. The caller is anonymous and they are not required to give a reason as to why they need this procedure. Night after night, more and more people call asking for Jane, prompting the two individuals to find a more permanent doctor who would be able to perform all the abortions without reporting to the authorities.. At the same time, they recruit more people to join the Jane collective, including “Barb” (Chloë Levine), “Donna” (Sarah Steele), “Maggie” (Sarah Ramos), “Linda” (Megan Channell) and “Joyce” (Sophie von Haselberg). Operating like a spy network, down to the blindfolds and secret meeting places, the Janes help over 11 000 women to obtain safe but illegal abortions. Ultimately, they cannot elude the police forever, and so they get caught and jailed. This ignites a movement to legalize abortions.
Being a Planned Parenthood advocate, Cait Cortelyou created Ask for Jane based on a real story. Director Rachel Carey’s film keeps the viewer interested in what happens, and advocates for women’s rights. Aside from raising the issues of those who need an abortion, Ask for Jane also shows the struggle of the people who don’t need an abortion but do want to help. It depicts the moral dilemmas faced and any strains on relationships that occured due to the nature of it being a ‘backdoor organisation’. Unfortunately, this highlights a huge problem that has returned, as abortions are being banned once again. The acting of this was incredible and realistic, including but not limited to the performances from Cait Cortelyou, Cody Horn, Chloë Levine, Sophie von Haselberg, Sarah Ramos, Sarah Steele, and Megan Channell. The team make the story of the Abortion Seven easier to believe; it is a must-see film.
Coach Katusha’s Comments:
Rachel Corey, Cait Cortelyou, and Caitlin Machak lead us into the empowering and frustrating world of women’s ongoing fight for rights. The light tone of this film, that is in fact incredibly educational, encourages the audience to stay with the characters and the development of the story. It is a perfect combination of documentary and narrative.
I applaud all the actors, as well as Caitlin Machak who creates a beautiful world for this story with the camera. This is a very well-done film that needs to be seen, especially given the recent situation with regards to abortion. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)
© Sophia Y. Jin (05/17/19) FF2 Media
Does Ask for Jane pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?
Yes! They talk about women’s rights and abortion.
Photo Credits: IMDb