Suburban Joy in Call Jane by Phyllis Nagy

Suburban Joy in Call Jane by Phyllis Nagy

Set against the backdrop of 1968 Chicago, Call Jane is a powerful narrative that delves into the life of Joy, a suburban housewife whose world is upended by a life threatening heart condition during her pregnancy. Her journey to secure a safe and legal abortion forces her to confront an indifferent, male-dominated medical establishment, leading her to the courageous and visionary women, Virginia and Gwen.

Directed by the talented Phyllis Nagy, Call Jane skillfully captures the essence of the late-sixties social upheaval. The film’s distinct visual language, shot on 16mm beautifully contrasts the diverse environments Joy navigates, from the sterile halls of hospitals to the vibrant, clandestine spaces where women fight for their rights.

Elizabeth Banks delivers a riveting performance as Joy, portraying a woman who, despite facing an impossible situation, refuses to succumb. Sigourney Weaver and Wunmi Mosaku shine as Virginia and Gwen, the women who aid Joy in her desperate quest. Their performances underscore the strength and solidarity of women coming together against oppressive systems.

Call Jane transcends being just a film about women’s rights, it’s a powerful testament to the impact of collective action and the necessity of standing up for justice. Joy’s journey is not only about her survival but also about the broader fight for women's autonomy. Rooted in true events, the film's narrative is both poignant and compelling, making a strong case for the ongoing struggle for women's rights.

Timely and inspiring, reminding us of the progress achieved and the battles yet to be fought. The film was co-written by Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi, with Nagy at the helm—whose accolades include an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 16mm-originated Carol. 


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