The Business of Being Born

"Excellent"

The Business of Being Born Review


There were two roadblocks to my catching The Business of Being Born in a theater, though I now wish I'd spent the money to give it the box office support. The first was that my only knowledge of Ricki Lake had been as a talk show host, and I stay away from viewing any of that type of material. The second was that, as a woman who may eventually give birth, I was extremely queasy at the thought of watching live births happen on camera. I love a good horror movie, but why torture myself watching what everyone says is the most painful experience of any woman's life?

What turned me on to watching the film was reflecting on the combined reactions of many of my peers, who are now mothers. While their children are all healthy and strong, most of them have had complaints about treatment during their deliveries, and all of them have been forced out of the hospital as soon as possible, after what could be the most physically traumatic experience they have yet encountered.

As it turns out, the main reason why The Business of Being Born is so useful to watch is that it provides a three-dimensional definition of an alternative option to giving birth in a hospital setting. From several points of view we learn that this option -- midwifery and birthing centers specifically -- is safe, educated and trained, affordable, and in fact comparable in healthy results to the treatment of a standard obstetrician. Filmmaker Abby Epstein, who is contemplating her own options, thinks of all the arguments against giving birth at home. The course of the film is bracketed by variety of subjects surrounding birth, from the drugs that mothers are given and what the process chemically does to both mother and child, to what is covered by insurance. The interviewees speak engagingly in their disregard for all the stereotypes about why it may be risky to give birth in your own space.

We follow several women who are at the end of their pregnancies and have chosen to give birth at home with a midwife, or in a birthing center. Their vocal decision-making process, which includes their partners' comments, is intertwined with many medical personnel from both the world of "western" medicine and birthing centers explaining the benefits of midwifery and natural childbirth. A few snippets of archival footage explain practices from the beginning of the twentieth century to convey how little care we have always taken with this process. The history lesson isn't entirely followed through on, but you get the point quickly anyway.

Granted, Business is a film with a fairly singular point of view, and if you're expecting an egalitarian comparison of paths toward motherhood, this will not be it. On the other hand, this focus on the after-effect of the birth process on both mother and newborn is one that nobody else has really ever taken on. More deserving in respect to its approach is that it's not a commercial for one doctor or one birthing center so much as a film trying to educate women about the questions to take into consideration in order to bring their child into the world. That said, there is a minor attempt to even out the tone by showing one mother who originally chose home birth but who required an operation because her child was in a dangerous position.

Admittedly, I still shook when watching a baby literally come out of a mother more than once, but I also noticed that I shook more violently seeing a woman's abdomen get torn open for a cesarean. When it comes to something so personal, and possibly so lasting, as the very beginning of a life, The Business of Being Born is an effective glimpse into the need for personal research, and a solid argument for making informed choices.



The Business of Being Born

Facts and Figures

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 9th January 2008

Distributed by: International Film Circuit

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Abby Epstein

Producer: Abby Epstein, , Paulo Netto, Amy Slotnick

Starring: Julia Barnett Tracy as Julia Barnett Tracy, Abby Epstein as Abby Epstein, Ina May Gaskin as Ina May Gaskin, as Herself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

Advertisement
The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.