Unplanned is a prophetic name, as I had no real intentions of seeing it. But after Twitter blocked them (since removed), music labels wouldn't license songs, most TV stations refused their benign advertising, and it was unfairly given an R rating. Later Google "Accidentally" mislabelled them as "propaganda", how does a non-genre accidentally get added anyways? And Canada banned it via their theater monopoly. I knew I had to see what was the Citizen Kane of our day. (Remember the studios/powerful tried to block Orsen Welles from telling the Hurst truth as well, even in allegory form). Here, take my money! Gosnell last year and Unlplanned this year are probably the most important movies of the year, not because I agree with everything in them (I'm pro-choice), or they're the best production (they aren't), but they tell powerful, mostly true stories that the rich, powerful and intolerant want to suppress. And if you hate bullies, you want to see the little guy succeed, even if you're not 100% in agreement with their message. That and it's a pretty good story, and I want to see the best arguments the other side can make to challenge myself/my beliefs -- so whichever side you're on, you should see it to be informed. But of course, that view is not for everyone.
Spoilers required to talk about the movie. But I think most pretty much knew the plot by the teasers, or the title.
Unplanned is a true story, based on the memoir of the same name by Abby Johnson, a Director of Planned Parenthood, who was named Employee of the Year. Then she had to help with an ultrasound-guided abortion at thirteen weeks gestation. After Johnson witnessed the fetus struggling for its life as it is dismembered by an abortionist's cannula, she realized the fraud of they don't feel and are just little tumors. So she resigns, becoming an anti-abortion activist, and founds a ministry to assist former Planned Parenthood employees turned anti-abortion after their own experiences.
Christian films normally have a quality slightly above Lifetime movies. Kind of OK acting, some not-so-polished spots of dialog, second tier music/audio, and a bit heavy handed on the hero-villain roles -- usually with pretty good messages and nice but predictable stories. (This said from the PoV of an atheist/agnostic). But they're getting quite a bit better, and this was one of the best I've seen as far as hitting the right notes, dialog, and not being eye-roll worthy in any rough spots.
I've studied quite a bit on Abortion over the decades, starting with my first letter to the editor in the early 80's -- and despite being pro-choice, the truth is The Left Lies. There's a balance, and I'm kind of in the middle for complex reasons: I support 1st and 2nd but oppose 3rd trimester, I want PP to exist but don't think the public should have to subsidize them, I want my imaginary daughter and other women to have the choice -- and would support/love them either way, but would be more proud if they chose the harder path. Like it or not, the truth is, if the public knew the truth about fetal development (not the lies PP tells), they would be more conservative than they are -- or I am. Since the truth doesn't align with the leftists agenda, they have to lie. Plus, you get what you incentivize: and Planned Parenthood is incentivized by getting more women to have abortions, not less. So while their PR says they're about requiring less abortions, anyone knows who has looked into it, read their financials, or seen undercover videos about PP execs talking when they think they aren't being taped, their primary motive is not reducing abortion. While I support their existence, I also support the other side getting to point out these truths about the pregnancy-elimination industrial complex. (They can have a worthy cause, and still be callous assholes and liars).
Thus, the movie is a littlet heavy handed in some spots: having the callous corporate execs, it throws out a lot of the cliché's of the right's views of their motives (which aren't exactly untrue), it shows all the Christians as the good kind (they have a few assholes as well).... but it also shows the truth that the majority of pro-lifers are not the few obnoxious ones that the media and PP uses to paint the whole movement. While the left will whine about some of those oversimplifications, or pick nits -- they'll do it while using their own broad brush to hate-label everyone who disagrees with them, in worse ways than the movie does. And the movie is less heavy handed than a Stone, Cameron, Clooney or Aflek films (or many TV shows are) on their agendas. While that's not a high bar, they cleared it by quite a bit. So methinks Hollywood/left doth protest too much. Thus, while it could have been a bit more subtle, it is a true story about an individual getting attacked, sued and bullied for not towing the leftist line. And once you are attacked unjustly, I expect the victims story gets a bit more one-sided.
- (1) MPAA Rated-R - While the movie has a couple of mildly graphic scenes like blood dripping down a girl's legs, it's nowhere near the blood or gore of many video games or PG-13 war movies. Think about the irony that a 14 year old girl can get an abortion without her parents consent -- but she can't see a movie because it depicts one through the fuzzy lens of an ultrasound? You can show graphic sex, violence, degradation, murder and mayhem and get a PG-13 rating, but if you show a truth that the left doesn't like, they'll try to narrow your audience with an artificial-R? That's pretty fucked up. If course I don't mind it, as most kids should probably see this with their parents -- but hypocrisy irks me.
- (2) The same with Record labels that would support songs/artists like Cop-Killer, or that sing about rape and the denigration of Women... but they wouldn't license Cyndi Lauper, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", or Oingo Boingo's "Dead Man's Party"? Again, that kind of bullshit hypocrisy does trigger my ass. Makes me feel better about any bootleg copies of music I got/made as a teen!
- (3) And as usual, the Reviews are biased. They scored it 50-53%, while audiences are scoring it at 90-93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Either that means the Reviewers are out of touch, or they're polemics -- either says more about the Reviewers than the audience, if you ask me. Of course the audiences are self-selecting this movie based on their open/close mindedness on the topic -- but the Reviews are demonstrating which side of that spectrum they're on, and it isn't the open minded side. Obviously.
- (4) Planned Parenthood and the anti-lifers want to run around and attack the movie over nits and pretend it is all a lie. But I'm not buying it. Look, I'm dubious that the protagonist saw everything she claims personally, or that the day after pill was quite as dramatic as portrayed... but I don't doubt that stuff has happened, or that staff can't be that callous, or put politics above a Woman's health (in rare cases). And compared to the many more lies that the left sells about 24 week babies being nothing more than a malignant growth? I don't think the PP-crowd gets to whine too loudly about the other side being stretching the truth.
- (5) Google labelled it as Propaganda (as if that's a movie genre?). I want to see how many times they labelled a Michael Moore or Al Gore film in that category, consider it's more appropriate. 
I liked it, because it completes the story. You hear the leftist propaganda by every Women's protestor, and the media all the time. You are indoctrinated with it in Jr. High School (or at least I was). The leftist view of the topic is everywhere... so if you want to be firm in your convictions you need to be able to hear the other side's best shot. And this was one of them: more valuable because of the rarity of the voice. So I like that the pro-lifers got their say, and they were far more eloquent in what they said, and how they said it, than the other side usually us. Though, the far left has so left me behind with these "until the moment of birth" bullshit bills, and lies like "it's for the health of the mother/baby" (when that's less than 1% of late term abortions), and extremism like that, that I'm not sure I have a side any more.
What I didn't like? It was a little too celebratory when they helped closed down a clinic -- as if that's a win. A win would be changing culture, or convincing Women of better alternatives -- or for me, stopping the practice of later term abortions, rather than of one abortion mill posing as Women's healthcare. Leaving me with the choice of no abortions, or abortions up to the moment of birth, makes me dislike both sides false dichotomy.
Will it change many minds? Probably not. My views are cemented based on a lifetime of mulling over the costs and consequences of both sides -- and 1 hour 50 minutes isn't going to change that. I still believe that in order for people to learn the right choice, they have to have a choice in the first place. Even if that means sometimes making the wrong one, and having to learn from that instead. Either way -- it was only fair that the pro-lifer's get to get their message out... and the truth is, fighting to save a human life is something I respect, even when I don't quite agree with where they start calling a fetus a human being.