Oh… this isn’t going to end well…
The story is based on the true events of Abby Johnson, who once ran a Planned Parenthood clinic, helped abort a fetus, but apparently felt that when the fetus was moving and possibly trying to avoid being killed, she turned a new leaf and left Planned Parenthood.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Ashley Bratcher, known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of.
Now for the crew. Co-writing and co-directing are Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, both known for stuff I’ve either never seen or heard of. The cinematographer is Drew Maw, making his feature film debut. Congrats, sir. Also, he’s slated for the upcoming BRIGHT ONES (2019). Finally, the co-editors are Parker Adams and Dana B. Wilson, both making their feature film debuts. Congrats, you two.
I love how this movie is about a women’s issue and yet it’s directed and written by two old white men. Christian men who wrote the God’s Not Dead movies… so maybe “Christian” should be in quotes, as those movies are more about religious propaganda, pandering, and hate-mongering toward any idea that isn’t their own. Ironically, the third God’s Not Dead movie, which wasn’t touched by either Konzelman or Solomon, was weirdly the best of those movies as it had… some… understanding of compassion and understanding of other people with differing viewpoints. And for a brief-ass bit there, it seemed like Pure Flix was making… I won’t say “good” films, but was trying to make movies that had some substance to them, what with GOD’S NOT DEAD 3 and I CAN ONLY IMAGINE, both being semi-competent films. But ho boy, we’re going right back to the glory days of VOICELESS (2015). And this one’s rated “R”! Ugh… shoot me now…
This is my honest opinion of: UNPLANNED
Set in Bryan, Texas, circa between 2001 and 2009. The true-life story of Abby Johnson (Ashley Bratcher) who worked for Planned Parenthood for eight years, climbing the ranks, eventually leaving after witnessing an abortion and becoming an anti-abortion activist.
And to think, I thought it couldn’t get worse than DUMBO, but here I fucking am, people! Oh man, it feels good to curse in a Christian movie.
Okay, so before I get into this, I’m just going to say that I’m going to do my absolute best to keep my personal politics out of this and just look at this movie as a movie. With that said, here we go.
The first problem with the flick, and a continuous problem at that, is the narrations from Bratcher. For a character like Abby Johnson, of which this entire movie is about her informing the general public about abortions and the dangers of them, and yet she sounds like a student reading a textbook to a classroom. There’s no sense of urgency to her voice, no sense of trauma, or anguish, or even any weight in her words. Strange, as Bratcher isn’t that bad of an actress in the film.
But it doesn’t take long for me to question every damn thing that this movie does. I do not believe for a second that a licensed medical practitioner, especially one performing something like an abortion, would ever make a joke like, “Beam me up, Scottie.” I’m just going to take a shot in the dark here and say that abortions are a scary, even traumatizing experience. Doctors would know that. They wouldn’t be cracking jokes right in front of them. And I certainly don’t believe that any employee of Planned Parenthood would be so crass and insensitive as to say “have a nice day” to a woman who LITERALLY JUST GOT AN ABORTION!!!
Second, Abby’s reaction to the abortion that shifted her line of thinking feels… odd. I say this because later on, she goes into a room with her boss and laying on a tray are the pieces of a fetus. She looks at it academically and even comments, “Oh wow, you can see everything.” So… wait, you have no problem with looking at the physical broken up remains of a fetus, but the physical act of watching the abortion via a very bad CGI computer screen, that’s what drives her over the edge? That feels kind of backward. But fine, let’s say that it’s not necessarily the abortion itself that freaked her out, but rather the whole “it looked like it moved away from it to save its life” thing that did her in. Not that I’m an expert on fetal development, but based on what I’ve read, the general rule of thumb is that fetuses don’t feel pain until the third trimester. Obviously, not an exact science, some develop faster or even slower than others, but I think there could be a number of explanations for what she saw. It’s proven that fetuses can have a reaction to something, but not necessarily feel pain toward it. Bare bones info, nerves can develop in the fetus, but unless they’re connected to the brain and spine, then it can’t feel pain. An example used that I’ll parrot is when a doctor smacks your knee with a reflex hammer, you react. It’s not painful, but you react. This could be one explanation of what she saw. Also, Abby was out of her element being in that room and seeing what she was seeing. Essentially, all foreign. What she saw freaked her out. She could be remembering it wrong, or exaggerating details. I’m inclined to believe the former, but you just never know.
Also, here’s a clear indication of what this movie’s intentions are. Just say “abortion” a lot. Yeah, this movie seems to think that all Planned Parenthood does is provide abortions. Never a mention about general health care, STD tests, hormone therapy for transgender patients, I’m just going off the official website for Planned Parenthood folks. Hell, it doesn’t even look like all Planned Parenthood locations offer abortions, but have the means to refer someone to a place that can provide that service. In any case, this movie makes ZERO mention of that. Even though a good chunk of the movie is supposed to be from the perspective of Planned Parenthood, all this movie, and Abby for that matter, talk about is abortions. Sure, they touch upon the abortion pill and certainly portray that as a horrible experience. Good job, movie. You mentioned ONE aspect of Planned Parenthood services… and yet it’s still involving the word “abortion.” It still involved the death of a fetus.
Swinging back around to the employees of Planned Parenthood, all of them are portrayed like they’re cold and heartless people. Cheryl (Robia Scott) in particular even comes up to Abby as she just finds out that she’s pregnant in a flashback, and says, “I can take care of that for you.” Even comparing abortions to “fries and drinks at McDonalds,” citing that’s how Planned Parenthood makes their money and WANT women to come in for abortions. Uh, no. I can’t believe that. These people know how hard it is for women, or anyone, to come into these buildings. Many, if not a majority of them, are hounded by pro-life activists and companies with opposing views to Planned Parenthood. They’re harassed, attacked, and coerced into doing something that could be detrimental to their health, and for no reason other than to get a leg up on Planned Parenthood. Worst case scenario, there are domestic terrorist threats against these places. These buildings, more or less, should be safe havens from the uninformed and psychotic out there. They need to be kind, soft-spoken, understanding, and even protective.
At the end of the day, this movie is pure propaganda. As a result, it’s a highly irresponsible movie, more promoting its religious beliefs than cold hard facts. Even if I believed that this movie had the best of intentions, this movie could sadly encourage an uninformed decision using fear tactics. Pure Flix should be ashamed of itself. Look, I’m no expert myself, but I at least I know I’m uninformed and could easily gather that information with phone calls and appointments at these centers. Something I bet not a single actor or filmmaker did for themselves. They knew what they wanted to do, and they didn’t care about the ramifications. Only winning at a game that isn’t meant to have winners or losers. I encourage anyone who sees this movie… well, to not see this movie. Get informed by real sources. Not hate-mongers and religious fanatics.
My honest rating for UNPLANNED: 1/5
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