×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Pregnancy Pact

The story is heavy-handed but finally registers its main point with conviction.

With:
Sidney Bloom - Thora Birch Sara Dougan - Madisen Beaty Brady Leary - David Rogers Jesse Moretti - Max Ehrich Michael Dougan - James McCaffrey School Nurse - Camryn Manheim Lorraine Dougan - Nancy Travis

Imbued with a strong message but weaselly in its relationship with real-life events, “The Pregnancy Pact” is Lifetime’s latest bit of advocacy filmmaking, using as its backdrop a much-publicized but murky outbreak of pregnancies in Gloucester, Mass.. Oddly structured, the movie’s opening disclaimer simultaneously states that it is both “inspired by” a true story and that any resemblance to actual persons is “purely coincidental” (um, huh?). Setting aside those fact-based underpinnings, the story is familiar and somewhat heavy-handed but finally registers its main point with conviction — serving as a clear indictment of abstinence-only sex education.The movie centers on a group of teenage girls who have ostensibly agreed to get pregnant and raise their babies together, living in some kind of Barbie dream-house fantasy about the magic of pregnancy and joys of motherhood. The principal focus here is Sara (an excellent Madisen Beaty), whose mother (Nancy Travis) heads the local family-values group and strongly resists the argument to teach sex-ed advanced by a concerned school nurse (Camryn Manheim).

What motivated the girls — and specifically, the disputed question of whether their apparent eagerness to become pregnant stemmed from an orchestrated “pact” — never quite coalesces. Writers Pamela Davis and Teena Booth try illuminating the premise through the device of a “video blogger” (an odd heroine, that), thanklessly played by Thora Birch, who investigates what really transpired. Her back story proves the least interesting part of the film, and at times feels painfully obvious in seeking to fill the underlying issues with resonance.

About halfway through the movie, moreover, the “pregnancy pact” story breaks in Time magazine (as it did in 2008), bringing a media frenzy upon the small town. This is illustrated through clips drawn from real-life newscasts, making the initial disclaimer seem even more mealy-mouthed and lawyerly.

For all that, the movie delivers several emotional moments — from the denial exhibited by Travis’ mother, who insists her daughter is “not that kind of girl;” to the painfully naive teens, who harbor a view of pregnancy derived from “a Huggies commercial,” as Birch’s character states, leaving them desperately in need of a “reality check.”

Ultimately, “The Pregnancy Pact” would have possessed more power had the producers gotten off the fence — either developing an original story or more closely adhering to the one that motivated it. And the movie still doesn’t quite capture the complexity of where the educational process with these girls broke down.

Credit Lifetime with an earnest attempt to tackle an important issue, down to the obligatory public-service announcement and outreach campaign. Any resemblance between this and a fully realized movie, however, is purely coincidental.

The Pregnancy Pact

Lifetime, Sat. Jan. 23, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in New Orleans by Frank & Bob Films II. Executive producers, Robert M. Sertner, Frank von Zerneck; producer, Christopher Morgan; co-producer, Laurence Ducceschi; director, Rosemary Rodriguez; writers, Pamela Davis, Teena Booth.

Crew: Camera, John Aronson; production designer, Warren A. Young; editor, Tod Feuerman; music, Richard Marvin; casting, Tammara Billik, Jason Wood. RUNNING TIME: 120 MIN.

Cast: Sidney Bloom - Thora Birch Sara Dougan - Madisen Beaty Brady Leary - David Rogers Jesse Moretti - Max Ehrich Michael Dougan - James McCaffrey School Nurse - Camryn Manheim Lorraine Dougan - Nancy Travis

More TV

  • GREY'S ANATOMY - "Let's All Go

    'Grey's Anatomy': 5 Biggest Shockers From the Season 16 Midseason Finale

    Spoilers: Do not read the following unless you have watched the season 16 mid-season finale of “Grey’s Anatomy,” titled “Let’s All Go to the Bar.” The always-dramatic “Grey’s Anatomy” made sure to ramp up the action for its Season 16 mid-season finale. Not only has Meredith Grey’s love life just gotten potentially more complicated, but [...]

  • Imelda Staunton'Downton Abbey' photocall, Rome Film

    'The Crown' Has Not Cast Imelda Staunton for Seasons 5 and 6, Netflix Says

    Netflix is shooting down reports that Imelda Staunton is joining “The Crown.” “We are currently filming season 4 of ‘The Crown’ but have not commissioned any further seasons as yet, therefore any news on casting remains pure speculation,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. Staunton, known to many as the despicable Dolores Umbridge in [...]

  • Baby Yoda The Mandalorian

    Baby Yoda Merchandise to Debut Ahead of Holiday Shopping Season

    Purchase Baby Yoda toys, you will. Fans of the breakout character from the Disney Plus series “The Mandalorian” have been surprised that there was no merchandise pegged to the character available upon the launch of the show, given that the Christmas shopping season is rapidly approaching. But according to an individual with knowledge of the [...]

  • Sean "Diddy" Combs Revolt TV

    Sean Combs Slams 'Illusion of Economic Inclusion' at Comcast Amid Byron Allen Fight

    Sean Combs has come out swinging against Comcast in a lengthy statement prompted by the cable giant’s legal battle with Entertainment Studios chief Byron Allen. Combs accused Comcast of maintaining “the illusion of economic inclusion” in its handling of a carriage agreement with Combs’ Revolt TV channel. Combs was critical of Comcast for failing to [...]

  • Oprah Winfrey during a tribute to

    TV News Roundup: OWN Orders Celebrity Relationship Series '#LoveGoals'

    In today’s TV news roundup, OWN orders a new unscripted relationship series and Disney Channel orders new seasons of “The Owl House” and “Sydney to the Max.”  DATES ABC will live broadcast the “2020 NCAA Gymnastics Championship Final” on April 18. The semi finals will air the day before at 1 and 6 p.m. ET. [...]

  • Sissy book cover

    Showtime to Develop Series Based on Jacob Tobia Memoir 'Sissy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Showtime is developing a half-hour dramedy based on Jacob Tobia’s memoir, Variety has learned exclusively. Tobia is a non-binary LGBTQ rights activist, actor, producer, and author. Their memoir, “Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story,” was published earlier this year by Putnam Books at Penguin Random House. The series, currently titled “Sissy,” would follow Tobi Gibran, a non-binary college [...]

  • Invisible Stories from HBO Asia

    Singapore Festival: HBO Asia Tells ‘Invisible Stories’

    HBO Asia has expanded its burgeoning production slate with six-episode half-hour series “Invisible Stories.” The first two episodes of the show, “Lian” and “Chuan,” play at the Singapore International Film Festival on Nov. 28. The series is by writer and director Ler Jiyuan, who previously directed part of HBO Asia Original series “Grisse.” “Like 80% [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content