Buuut James Earl Jones, Rosario Dawson, and Brendan Frasier convinced me that this was for real. Not to mention the fact that this is how we first encounter Hudgens in her role as Apple Bailey:
Not exactly Zac Efron's crooning sweetheart, eh? Her transformation was huge - 15 pounds gained, hair chopped off, voice unrecognizable. I did see glimmers of HSM at the end in her smirk, but that's just who the actress is.
Apple (or Agnes) is a 16-year-old fleeing an abusive home situation. She's been in and out of foster care all her life, and escapes her mother when she finds out she is pregnant, only to be thrust into a less-than-ideal situation with her biological father's family.
She rejects abortion as an option for her unborn baby, and winds up in the hospital, where she meets kindly priest James Earl Jones (who doesn't wear clerics even once in the movie... Bothered me a little? Yeah... But you know, small details!). Jones convinces her to move into a crisis pregnancy shelter (this is based on a true story, and the shelter's website is here), where she eventually finds her happy ending.
But not without a whole lot of really terrifying and really real life hitting her first. I'm with Katrina - I'm feeling a little ashamed of myself now for how little we've done for women in these circumstances. I was deeply disturbed and pretty uncomfortable with quite a few scenes in this movie. It's not exactly a touchy-feely preachy "everybody be pro-life because look, BABIES are so cute!" sort of movie, you know? But it's so powerful. So, so powerful. And timely, considering the events of this week.
If you're not marching tomorrow (or even if you are), will you consider seeing this movie and maybe finding a way to donate or volunteer at a shelter like Several Sources Shelter? You can find locations where the movie is showing here - it opens in limited theaters on Friday, January 24. And spread the word - my exposure to commercials is limited to Hulu and I've heard nothing about this film, so word-of-mouth is the way to go!
And if you want to read up a little more on the back story, this article is fascinating.
Interested? Watch the trailer below:
I was able to view this movie free of charge thanks to Grace Hill Media. All opinions expressed are my own.