Birch on Baby Birth
Before watching the "Pregnancy Pact" I had never heard of the teen pregnancy controversy of 2008 when Gloucester High School (Massachusetts) reported that 18 girls had become pregnant, 4 times as many as the previous year, it wasn't big news here in Britain. And so whilst I knew that the "Pregnancy Pact" was inspired by this true story it wasn't the only reason I watched it as I was more interested in how the subject of teen pregnancy was dealt with. Maybe it's why I found the "Pregnancy Pact" a reasonable TV movie as if I had watched it expecting an in-depth look of the Gloucester teen pregnancy controversy I would have been left disappointed because it doesn't really shed any light on the subject.
After video blogger Sidney Bloom (Thora Birch - American Beauty) learns of a spike in teen pregnancies at her old high school in Gloucester, Massachusetts she decides to head back to investigate, stirring up her own memories of her difficult time at high school. Once there she soon discovers that in amongst the genuine accidental teen pregnancies are a group of girls who naively promised each other to get pregnant at the same time. But she also discovers that their parents would rather blinker themselves from the truth and oppose proper sex education than tackle it.
So whilst "Pregnancy Pact" takes its lead from the Gloucester teen pregnancy controversy of 2008 in effect it only uses it as a basis to have a look at the subject of teen pregnancy as a whole. As such whilst the drama of the controversy is re-enacted with the American press going crazy in reporting the subject it doesn't seem to shed any light on the subject. Or at least it doesn't really get to grips with why a group of teenage girls would all choose to get pregnant and dupe their partners into getting them pregnant.
But then it does seem like the "Pregnancy Pact" is more interested in just looking at the subject of teen pregnancy as a whole trying to see it from different view points using the fictitious character of Sidney Bloom as a way of looking at the issue. As such we see various sides to the teen pregnancy issue, we see the naivety of the teen girls who think that having a baby is going to be like a Huggies commercial only to get a shock when they discover that not only is giving birth painful but life afterwards is not easy. We also get to see how conservative parents who think abstinence is the way forward learn that they can't ignore what is really going on. And we also see how the education system is caught in the middle of trying to educate these girls whilst not offending their parents.
Now to be honest "Pregnancy Pact" does try to cover a lot of ground and seeing things from different view points and as such it does a reasonable job of covering the difficult subject be it the embarrassment of teen girls buying condoms to their parents blinkering themselves to the truth. But at the same time because it is trying to look at all sides, whilst also giving us a re-enactment of the 2008 teen pregnancy controversy whilst also giving us Sidney's own personal story it never really gets beneath the surface of anything. As such whilst it does basically say that not only do parents need to talk more to their children and the education system needs to take a more active role it never really manages to dig deep to what the root of the teen pregnancy problem is.
Now whilst there are a few familiar names and faces such as Thora Birch and Nancy Travis in "Pregnancy Pact" this is a movie not really about performances but about the subject. As such whilst there isn't really a bad performance neither does anyone stand out, delivering a performance without really getting below the surface of the character. It does mean that not only does "Pregnancy Pact" end up lacking depth but it also lacks heart.
What this all boils down to is that on one hand "Pregnancy Pact" should be commended for trying to cover the subject of teen pregnancy and look at it from different sides. But it does cover a lot of areas and in doing so barely scratches the surface of the issue. And sadly for those who think that this may be an in-depth look at the 2008 teen pregnancy controversy well sadly it isn't and again never really seeming to get beneath the surface of the story.