Movie “Unplanned” causes controversy


"Unplanned" youtube account

In a screenshot from the trailer for “Unplanned”, Ashley Bratcher, who plays Abby Johnson, counsels a woman seeking an abortion.

Thomas Searl, editor-in-chief

Upon its release in theaters in late March, the movie “Unplanned” already had a lot going against it.

The film was banned from advertising on Lifetime, Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, HGTV, Food Network, Hallmark Channel and USA Networks, as well as a suspension from Twitter on its opening day, according to The Pathway. The Motion Picture Association of America gave the film an R rating a month ahead of its release, citing a couple specific scenes involving abortion and restricting ticket buyers’ ages to 17 and up.

The movie follows the true story of Abby Johnson, a young Texan who became a clinic director for Planned Parenthood in Houston. Johnson rose to her post, but then, put face-to-face with the realities of her job, she quit and became a pro-life activist.

Ashley Bratcher, who plays Johnson, does an excellent job. Her performance is realistic, never relying too heavily on visible emotion to effectively deliver dialogue. The filmmaking is not unique in style, but takes advantage of well-established norms to tell the story, clearly intending to keep the focus on the plot, not the editing.

The film makes good use of supporting characters, like Doug (Brooks Ryan), who remain generally static and allow a stable and effective viewpoint through which Abby’s change of heart can be seen. The filmmaking is oddly clever and calculated in that way, as it allows for unobstructed storytelling.

The narration is not continuous, but Abby’s voice is heard at various points explaining exactly what she was thinking at the time. While I’m generally not a fan of narration and explicit exposition, “Unplanned” utilizes the tool sparingly, and its usage lends itself well to seamless transitions and thought-provoking commentary.

I think the movie, while undeserving of the R rating it was given, should still be watched cautiously. It is no fun seeing such wretched abstractions we talk about made real, made present. It could be highly upsetting to those with a weak stomach or to those who have some personal connection to the issue.

I still think the movie is important because the story is true and exposes the truth about Planned Parenthood. As a pro-life person, I think the pro-life side has failed in dominating the media and popular culture, and this movie is an important step in opening the minds and eyes of those who still don’t know what abortion really is.

I would recommend this movie to anyone who thinks they can stomach it, probably to nobody lower than the age of 13, since the graphics and depth of the message require a little more maturity to internalize. Overall, I would rate the movie 5 stars out of 5 because it managed to present the story very well, even without the bloated budget typical of most box-office hits.