"Call Jane" Sundance Review (2022, Phyllis Nagy)


"Nobody’s Jane. We’re all Jane."

Phyllis Nagy made this film about “the power of exercising choice” as she stated in her introduction to the film at Sundance this year. Phyllis Nagy (writer of Carol) makes her feature directorial debut.
Joy (Elizabeth Banks) goes through a radical transformation as a strait-laced housewife who ends up helping women in a way she never thought possible. First, Joy finds herself at the whims of her husband; she also needs approval for a medical procedure from an all-male board at the hospital who aren't eager to put themselves in her shoes. 

“It’s life or death for all of them.”

I love the fact that Phyllis Nagy is here to educate the younger generation. We get some of the same issues here as in the Hulu series Mrs. America: males can be pigs and white women overlook issues facing African American women. 

Some scenes aren't as energetic as I'd like them to be. However, other scenes such as Joy seeking other options for medical care lead her to scary doctors' offices that would send most women screaming away from.

The film had a great set design, costumes, and music choices. I loved the period umbrellas and the pink dress that Elizabeth Banks wore in a scene when she was at the psychiatrist's. Perhaps it's the best abortion film since Mike Leigh's Vera Drake.

In the Q&A, Nagy expressed that she wanted to make something that would provoke “intergenerational” and “intersectional” conversations. They shot on film (!) with one camera in 23 days! I love how Nagy put so many women in key roles including Greta Zozula, who was the director of photography.

Sigourney Weaver told us that the younger generation took abortion rights for granted, which is unfortunately true. A lot of women these days (including me) weren't even born yet when the U.S.A. gained abortion rights in 1973. It was unthinkable for most of my adult life that we'd ever revert back to a time when women couldn't make decisions about their own bodies. That is why it's important to stand up for our rights, write and call our representatives in Congress, and to have these kinds of conversations. 

Rating: 7/10

Vegan points:

-Joy chops celery and carrots 

-Joy's husband doesn’t like frozen meatloaf

Vegan alert:

-Ordered out for Italian food because of the meatballs

-Charlotte (Grace Edwards) makes hamburger noodles


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