Many of you have seen either heavily scornful or positively glowing reviews of the anti-abortion film Unplanned from Pure Flix studios.
My parents wanted to see it, so they took my sister and I to the cinema when we were in Florida.
I hope to portray the film somewhat objectively in this review, but you should know I grew up, and still am, Catholic.
I still consider myself to be more liberal than most Catholics. I am pro-life, but I feel others should have the right to choose.
The film is based on the memoir Abby Johnson and describes her journey from a pro-choice Planned Parenthood (PP) director to a pro-life activist. Johnson had two abortions and both were physically and mentally taxing.
Johnson started volunteering at PP because she wanted to help women. She was told that the goal was to ultimately reduce abortions through things like the pill but eventually discovered that the director of that particular clinic, Cheryl, wanted people to have abortions in her clinic so she could make money.
After years of working for PP, she witnessed an abortion ultrasound — and that was enough to change her mind.
I was not looking forward to seeing the movie due to its sensitive topic and R-rating in the US.
The abortion scenes were horrific and well executed, enough that I had to avert my eyes.
This is what the filmmakers wanted us to feel when we saw these scenes — disgust, horror, and fear. Some of the acting was well done.
I’ve sat through many Christian films like this and they’re usually corny to the max with poor acting and an even poorer plot line.
Ashley Bratcher, who portrayed Abby Johnson, carried the film with her emotional performance.
Unplanned accurately portrayed a woman’s experience in a PP clinic. While the 40 Days for Life group are praying and trying to help the women by telling them about possible other options, there are other protesters who are verbally harassing the women entering the clinic by yelling, cursing, calling them murderers, and more.
One man even dressed as the Grim Reaper. The film demonizes people who harass the women crudely, which was a good tactic for showing that anti-abortion activists need to be more pro-woman.
However, this wouldn’t be a Christian film without some corniness.
Mike Lindell (the My Pillow guy, if you know who that is) shows up for a cameo like the Stan Lee of the Christian Cinematic Universe and a super cheesy lawyer helps Johnson win a lawsuit against PP.
A lot of liberals/pro-choice activists call Unplanned an “anti-choice propaganda film.” A lot of conservatives/anti-abortion activists tout the censorship of the film as the “radical left” trying to supress pro-life opinions.
The film’s activists have some argument going for them regarding censorship. Most TV networks wouldn’t air promotional materials for the film due to its subject matter.
Canadian cinemas didn’t show the film until July, four months after its release.
Liberals also have an argument in that this film is a type of propaganda but the term can be incendiary since it has heavy connotations, and so people can get angry when their views are called propaganda.
Unplanned is a polarizing film that shows the extremes of abortion and what can happen when all goes wrong.
It also demonizes Planned Parenthood as a whole rather than the specific branch, and made it seem that all PP wanted was to carry out abortions for profit.
Even my Catholic, pro-life father said that the film should have showcased more of the good stuff that PP does, like STI tests, pregnancy tests, counselling, and breast cancer screenings.
From what I can understand, most people who go to the showings are people who are anti-abortion, and it strengthens their beliefs.
This movie does not seem to be changing minds, as most reviews state it only strengthens people’s current beliefs. Unplanned didn’t change my mind; it scared me away from abortion as a person who’s anxious about medical procedures going wrong rather than as a person who is pro-life for religious reasons.
My religion may be part of why I am pro-life for myself – but that is my choice to make, isn’t it?