Guest blog post by GenJ Member Sarah Estes.
Release Date: March 29, 2019
Run Time: 106 minutes
Directors: Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon
MPAA Rating: R
In the film Unplanned, Abby Johnson tells the unlikely story of her transformation from a Planned Parenthood clinic director to a pro-life advocate. But unlike much of the rhetoric we hear today, Unplanned doesn’t simply restate the abortion debate, it refocuses it on what truly matters: people.
Abortion has been a hot button issue for such a long time that people sometimes forget how it pertains to real life and consequently, relationships between people. It often seems as if abortion is only talked about and debated about on TV or in the newspaper. Little is written on how abortion affects people or their relationships. However, Unplanned’s greatest quality is exactly that: highlighting abortion’s divisive nature and how it affects both unborn babies and relationships.
Early on in the movie, the first example of how divisive abortion can be is unexpectedly shown within a group of pro-lifers. On the other side of the fence that surrounded the Planned Parenthood clinic, a stark contrast was drawn between the compassionate pro-lifers and the angry, self-righteous pro-lifers. The scene is somewhat disconcerting, but it also serves as a reminder that although abortion has a disruptive nature, letting it get the best of one’s emotions to the point of anger only deepens the divide between people. However, the movie isn’t completely full of disconcerting reality checks. In fact, the film did an excellent job at debunking the myth that the two opposing sides of the abortion debate hate each other. While there was always some tension between the clinic workers and the pro-lifers, there were also some beautiful moments of compassion and rapport. Johnson’s character and a pro-lifer named Marilisa in particular had small conversations over the years that not only showed how much compassion works, but also how we are all human. The filmmakers also did a fantastic job at having small bits of humor and happy moments scattered throughout the movie. It closely mirrored the ups and downs of real life, adding humanity to the film. But instead of deepening the divide, Unplanned is a catalyst to a greater conversation. Judgment turns into compassion and a highly political issue turns into a deeply human one.
Besides Unplanned’s storyline, the acting quality, editing, and camera work were all phenomenal for a film with only a $6 million budget. As a high school junior, I believe that anyone who is in high school is capable of seeing the film, despite it being rated R. There is quite a bit of blood at three different points in the movie, however the intensity is not continuous throughout the film, unlike Poltergeist or Insidious (which were both rated PG-13). Furthermore, the film doesn’t have any violence or language that would usually appear in an R-rated movie. Overall, Unplanned does an excellent job in showing how compassionate conversation, not judgmental debates, will help to bridge the gap that has divided Americans since 1973.
The views expressed in this post are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Generation Joshua or GenJ affiliates.