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

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

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.