20. Riding in Cars With Boys (2001) [Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, drug and sexual content.]
summary from imdb.com:
A single mother, with dreams of becoming a writer, has a son at the age of 15 in 1965, and goes through a failed marriage with the drug-addicted father.
directed by: Penny Marshall
starring: Drew Barrymore, Steve Zahn, Brittany Murphy, James Woods, Lorraine Bracco, Rosie Perez, Sara Gilbert, Peter Facinelli, Mika Boorem, Vincent Pastore, Paz de la Huerta, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Logan Lerman
movieguide.org Christian reviews
Drew Barrymore: Kill me, Fay, because I want to die! I want to be dead! That’s not too much to ask for. How will I tell my parents? I can’t even talk to them about the weather. How am I supposed to tell them I committed a mortal sin? A mortal sin!!
Brittany Murphy: Okay! I know, I know, I understand. Okay. Calm down. We’ll practice. Pretend I’m your parents. Say what you’ll say. You’ll get through it. Tell me like you would tell them.
Drew: Mom. Pop.
Drew: I don’t know how to tell you this.
Drew: I’m pregnant.
Brittany: My daughter’s a tramp. My daughter is a tramp! My daughter’s a tramp! You’re 15 years old! How could you do this to me? You make me sick to my stomach! Why don’t you just take my gun? Take my gun and shoot me in the head with it, tramp! I wish you were never born! Okay, go. You can do it. Maybe you should tell Ray first.
Drew Barrymore: They say in Puerto Rico you can get rid of it, but I don’t have any money. Do you have any money?
Steve Zahn: No.
Drew: That’s it, then. I have to throw myself at my parents’ mercy. If they help me take care of the baby, then I can get a job and save some money.
Steve: That’d be good.
Drew: Then I could move to New York, and get a job at a newspaper. You know, nothing big, something small.
Steve: I can’t. Wait! New York?
Drew Barrymore: I swear, I would rather die than marry Ray. I don’t care what my father says.
Brittany Murphy: Bev… I know this sounds horrible… but… my aunt fell down the stairs when she was pre… you know… And she …you know. And I thought maybe you could… You know?
Drew: Good night, Fay. Janet? I’ll give you five bucks if you throw me down the stairs.
Lorraine Bracco: Janet? You’d better be asleep!
[Drew slides down the stairs a few times]
Brittany Murphy: No. Wait, I’m not finished yet. If you’re so great for being here, don’t talk to me, either. Okay? Because I’m pregnant too. […]
Drew Barrymore: Swear you’re not joking.
Brittany: I swear. I just found out day before yesterday. I figured I had to tell Bobby first. I’m Sorry.
Drew: It’s okay.
Brittany: It’s not okay. There’s not gonna be any kind of a ceremony or anything. We’re getting married next week before Bobby gets shipped off. My father wanted to send me to Arizona to live with my brother Dennis while I was pregnant and put the baby up for adoption, but my Mom talked him out of it. That’s what’s going on.
Drew: We’re gonna be pregnant together! And we’re both gonna have girls! And they’re gonna be just like us!
Beverly (Drew Barrymore) is a 15 year old girl in the 1960s who naively has sex with an adorable no-hoper called Ray out of gratitude for him fighting in her honour. When Beverly discovers she is pregnant she confides in her best friend (who later gets pregnant herself) and then discusses with Ray. In a breif moment Beverly reveals she has heard of abortion but doesnt think it is an option because she has no money and you can only get them in Puerto Rico. Though Ray is willing to marry her, Beverly is reluctant to have a baby, even going so far as throwing herself down the stairs to try to force a miscarriage. A wedding between Beverly and Ray is hastily planned and the young couple move into public housing and have a baby boy, much to Beverly’s disappointment. Ray and Bev enter into criminal activity and drug use and Beverly is refused education opportunities. Bev considers having a baby so young ruined her life and questions whether she loves him.
The Web site of Ms. Magazine–yes, it still exists–is calling on readers to sign a petition: “I have had an abortion. I publicly join the millions of women in the United States who have had an abortion in demanding a repeal of laws that restrict women’s reproductive freedom.”
Well, so much for the right to privacy. If Ms. readers hadn’t had so many abortions, there might be more Ms. readers. As for the rest of us, here’s a petition we could all sign: “I wasn’t aborted.”
Having narrowly escaped being aborted, I’d be the first in line. […]
Even in the case of teen mothers-to-be, for all the ruination and dead dreams we are told will be visited upon their lives if they keep the baby, if someone has ambition to begin with, nothing has to stand in her way. Consider the story of Beverly D’Onofrio, dramatized in the 2001 Penny Marshall movie, “Riding in Cars with Boys.” Beverly, played by Drew Barrymore, gets knocked up at 15. She marries the father, an older boy, only to discover that he is a drug addict. Over the next few years, things at home fall apart and the two separate, with Beverly retaining custody.
While for a time her opportunities are more limited than they would otherwise be (a chance to get into an elite writing program at New York University is dashed when she has to bring the kid with her to the interview), ultimately her dreams stay intact and her personal story paves a way to literary and cinematic success–not an easy feat even for the privileged. Beverly D’Onofrio got to have her cake and eat it too, and while the men in her life since no doubt have come and gone, she will always have her son.
I think “Riding in Cars With Boys” was the last recent movie I saw young, unwanted motherhood told with a little more reality, although they didn’t spend a lot of time on her actual pregnancy except for one funny-because-it’s-so-heartbreaking scene where the main character tries to throw herself down the stairs to terminate the pregnancy. It’s set in the 60s, however, so the abortion question goes as far as “I can’t afford to go to Puerto Rico”. Still a good film.