ASK FOR JANE- Review by Cate Marquis

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A few years back, Ask for Jane would have been a nice little historical drama about how things were before Roe v Wade but in light of recent laws passed in Alabama and Missouri banning all abortions, Ask for Jane takes on a whole new meaning. Instead of audiences says “wow, look how much has changed,” they might be saying “wow, could that happen again?”

Ask for Jane is a narrative film based on the true story of a group of college women in Chicago in the late ’60s and early ’70s. After helping one friend in their dorm find a doctor willing to perform a then-illegal abortion, they decided to help other women with unwanted pregnancies.. All they had to do was call a phone number and ask for Jane.

Director Rachel Carey couldn’t have known how timely this drama would be but it certainly is that. Ask for Jane is a modest-budget independent film but it covers a lot of ground in women’s rights. Besides telling these women’s bold story, the drama throws in other reminders of how things used to be for women, from being the one’s asked to make the coffee to needing their husband’s permission to use birth control. Still, the center of the film is this one groundbreaking group, ordinary people who volunteered their time to help other women. The film likely is an eye-opener for younger audiences in particular who may not be aware of how it used to be, but a good reminder for those who were aware but thought all that was far in the past. The past may be closer than we may think.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ask For Jane is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for May 31, 2019

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Cate Marquis

Cate Marquis is a film critic and historian based in the St. Louis, Missouri area. Marquis reviews film for the St. Louis Jewish Light weekly newspaper and Playback: stl website, as well as other publications. The daughter of artist Paul Marquis, she was introduced to classic and silent films by her father, as well as art and theater. Besides reviewing films, she lectures on film history, particularly the silent film era, has served on the board of the Meramec Classic Film Festival and is a long-time collaborator with the St. Louis International Film Festival, serving on various juries.