Submitted by Robert Adams
Seldom has a movie stirred up such controversy and backlash as the Canadian release of Unplanned. The film tells the true story of Abby Johnson, an abortion clinic director and Planned Parenthood “Employee of the Year,” who one day sees a suction curettage abortion and decides to quit. Johnson then goes on to become a counsellor for 40 Days for Life, a prayer and care group whose goal is to end abortion.
Amid shrieks of opposition from those who supposedly support “freedom of choice,” the film had been banned in Canada. These false accusations of “propaganda” and “horror” were heard, as well, after the film’s blockbuster US release. It turned out to be a box office hit, outperforming many action and drama films, including Captain Marvel.
The accusations turned out to be false. The movie is an accurate account of an abortion facility activity and the personal history of Abby Johnson. The typical CSI TV show has ten times more gore than what you will see in Unplanned. Since when is the movie industry concerned about excess gore?
What the critics are opposed to is excess truth. One of the doctors portrayed in the film is Anthony Levatino. Dr. Levatino is not JUST an actor. He performed over 1,200 real abortions before changing his views, as Johnson did. If anyone knows what abortion looks like and what really goes on in abortion clinics, it is Levatino and Johnson. The fact that Planned Parenthood is the target of criticism in Unplanned accounts for much of the funding for the film’s opposition. The abortion industry stands to lose millions due to the truth being revealed on screens across the continent.
“What the critics are opposed to is excess truth.”
What you will see in this movie is Ashley Bratcher’s powerful and convincing portrayal of Abby Johnson. Her acting is superb. Writing and Directing duo Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon have crafted a clever flash-back approach which begins and ends with Johnson’s life-changing moment. We are then brought to the beginning and trace Johnson’s steps to becoming clinic director as her loving Christian, pro-life husband remains faithfully by her.
This is a Christian film and Christians of all stripes should see it. But it does not have the vibe and texture of typical Christian movie, some of which come off as facile, and “Pollyanna” or amateurish in story and production values. Unplanned has a credible, serious tone while not shrinking back from upholding family and faith virtues. It is a tough line to walk between style and ethics, for any art form. Konzelman and Solomon pull it off. Unplanned will be the production model for Christian films until another surpasses its excellent standards.
Besides Ashley Bratcher, another actress deserving mention is Robia Scott who, as the Planned Parenthood director, portrays a supreme villainess you will love to hate. At one point in the film, Johnson asks, “Is it wrong for me to want to punch her in the face?” The audience knows beyond a shadow of a doubt the answer to that question. Kudos to Robia.
Yes, Planned Parenthood also gets a well-deserved punch in the face by this movie. But that does not make Unplanned propaganda. To list it as propaganda one would need to include Brokeback Mountain, The Color Purple, or 12 Years a Slave, to be fair.
It is powerful, well-produced, and will convince many of those courageous enough to watch a true story come to life on the big screen. Do you dare?
Unplanned. It is a true story.
Propaganda depends on lies.
Hollywood knows this.
About Robert Adams
Adams is a Christian actor, director, playwright, drama instructor, and father of seven who lives in Montreal, Canada. He is the creator of “1642: The Montreal Story” and the musical parody “West Island Story.”
Also, enjoy Adams’ poem, “Irene,” in the Lost Pen Magazine.