Review: ‘Call Jane’ is a Disappointingly Surface-Level Look at Abortion

The Jane Collective was an impressive group of women in Chicago in the decades before Roe v. Wade who helped thousands of women gain access to illegal, but potentially life-saving abortions. 

They were remarkable in helping women regardless of the reason they needed the procedure – they were simply committed to allowing women to be in charge of what happened to their bodies. 

While the Sundance documentary The Janes gives a nuanced and deep look into the organization, its fictional counterpart Call Jane, which also premiered at Sundance, unfortunately, does not. 

Directed by Phyllis Nagy (known for writing Carol), the film is a very surface-level portrayal of the Jane Collective to the point of feeling sanitized for the sake of general audiences. 

Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi’s script focuses on a white suburban housewife named Joy (Elizabeth Banks), whom we first meet in 1968. 

As she walks through a luxurious hotel lobby in her beautiful blue gown and elaborate updo, she sees a protest occurring outside with student activists chanting, “The whole world is watching!”