There’s a lot to say about the little movie that ended up making a surprising splash at the box office last weekend despite numerous challenges. When I saw "Unplanned," I knew the movie was about abortion, but that’s pretty much it.
I never saw an advertisement anywhere. I’m betting you didn't either. That’s because many networks, including Lifetime, Discovery, The Food Network, and even the Hallmark Channel (what?) refused to advertise it. On Saturday, Twitter suspended Unplanned's account, sparking confusion and outrage in Conservative media. Whether it was deliberate or a glitch of remarkable coincidence, it was a victory for the film, as it quickly amassed a following of 349,000 and growing.
Okay, so what’s it about?
Unplanned, based on the best-selling memoir, tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a former pro-choice advocate who became the youngest Clinic Director in Planned Parenthood’s history. After witnessing an abortion at 13 weeks, she left the organization and became an outspoken critic, which led to her getting sued by PP.
Why do I need to see it?
Women have a right to be educated, especially about issues that directly relate to them. In this case, abortion.
For Pro-Choice Women, remember that you can’t make a good choice without being fully informed. You can't be fully informed unless you explore both sides of an argument honestly and accurately.
It shows the reality of abortion at various stages and different methods. No filter, no fluff.
Your Tax dollars are funding abortions, whether you like it or not. Don’t you want to know how it's being used?
Don’t let others tell you how to think
Many sites are echoing the same sentiments, using exhausted terms like "extreme"... "absolutist"... "twisting facts"... "conspiracy theories"... But I'm not a parrot in an echo chamber, and there's two sides to every story.
"It's Too Sensitive"
Lifetime said Unplanned’s subject matter (abortion) was supposedly too “sensitive” of a subject to advertise, even though the network aired an interview where Scarlet Johannson pitched Planned Parenthood. So we’re allowed to be sold something, but not allowed to talk fully about what that something is and does? Got it.
Anti-women would be not allowing a woman to share her story and struggle. Abby Johnson's story is a very unique one. Plus, she had two abortions herself. She's been there, done that. So why is it that only women who celebrate their abortions are supposed to be heard and applauded? The women who regret their abortions and share their stories deserve a voice, too.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but "choice" is an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities. Since abortion is legally one of them, one of the most pro-choice things you can do is to understand it fully.
“It Promotes Conspiracy Theories”
Abby Johnson worked at Planned Parenthood for years and was the youngest director in the company’s history. She calculates that she was personally responsible for about 22,000 abortions, including two of her own. I don’t know about you, but I’d call that sufficient credibility. If the film made false allegations, the film's producers would be getting sued by Planned Parenthood for defamation. But they can’t. Why? Because the events and facts presented in the film are true.
It's the First "R" Rated Pure Flix Film
“Unplanned” was also the first Pure Flix film to be given an “R” rating. The lead actress, Ashley Bratcher, said “We don’t have nudity, we don’t have sex, we don’t have language, so the only thing they could give us an ‘R’ for is violence. So that means they agree that abortion is a violent and disturbing act.”
We don’t have nudity, we don’t have sex, we don’t have language, so the only thing they could give us an ‘R’ for is violence. So that means they agree that abortion is a violent and disturbing act.
The scene that gave the movie its R rating is obvious. It's the decisive turning point in the film when Abby witnesses a 13-week ultrasound-guided abortion. It's graphic and very difficult to watch, especially being that I've never seen it portrayed on film in an authentic way.
The Good and the Bad
I feel obligated to say that I'm not a fan of preachy films, which, in my opinion, include most in the Christian genre. The production quality of Christian films often feels tacky, and the acting leaves much to be desired. They tend to preach and appeal only to the choir, which, from a logical perspective, seems like a lousy way to evangelize.
With that being said, I think it's important to judge a movie based on what it's attempting to achieve, not based on personal tastes and biases. The authenticity with which Unplanned explores this controversial and important subject stands independent of its shortcomings. What this movie shows is how so many of us want to genuinely do the right thing, but sometimes it's hard to know what the right thing is when we're overwhelmed with so many mixed messages.
What it gets wrong:
- From an objective standpoint, viewers judging it for its technical merits will take issue with many of the usual problems limited budgets have.
- The music isn't great. It wasn't so much a score as it was a compilation of Christian rock sounding clips.
- The most noticeable is the one-dimensional Disney Villain nature of Abby's boss at Planned Parenthood.
What it gets right:
- The film doesn't demonize the Planned Parenthood employees. They're portrayed as anything but the typical “one-dimensional” figures you see in a lot of Christian films. They're likable, supportive, and above all, human.
- It shows us how various abortion procedures actually happen - before, during, and after, as well as the physical and emotional effects.
- It portrays the unproductive and fear-based techniques certain Pro-Life advocates use in a negative light (standing outside of the PP clinic, holding Bibles and shouting at young and frightened pregnant women, calling them "baby killers").
Ratings & Reviews
Owen Gleiberman of Variety writes that “‘Unplanned’ preaches to the pro-life choir, and it does so by making a case against abortion that's absolutist and extreme, at certain points twisting "facts" into a narrative of conspiracy," while The Hollywood Reporter “wonders why Unplanned was made.”
This shouldn't shock any of us, as it's widely understood that Hollywood film critics tend to give high scores to only three types of movies:
- The most depressing dramas you've ever seen.
- Every Marvel movie that hits theaters (which is entirely objective and not at all paid for).
- Movies with strong political messages aimed at the Right. To quote a joke from 2018 Oscar Host Jimmy Kimmel, "We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.”
A Box Office Success
The film blew past projections and earned $9.2 million in its first seven days. With hundreds of theaters being added this weekend, it should easily surpass $10 million by Sunday.
See it for Yourself
“Unplanned,” isn’t the best movie, but it’s an important one. It shows the reality of abortion with no filter, even at only 8 weeks. To say Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers don't want you to see it would be accurate.
Why? It’s an over one billion dollar a year industry. It's well documented that in 1986, women’s magazine editors got together to hard-sell abortion to women on a consistent basis. The reasoning? If a woman isn’t thinking about her child, but rather herself, it’s much easier to sell her makeup, clothes, and cosmetics.
Evie doesn't tell you how to think. We don't see our readers as so fragile or easily swayed that they can't see a movie for themselves to form their own opinion. Any other philosophy is simply insulting to women.
If you or your child is old enough to get an abortion, you’re old enough to see this movie. Due to the first weekend success, it’s opening in over 700 new theaters this weekend.
To purchase tickets, visitwww.unplannedtickets.com