I don’t get out to the movie theater very often, but this past weekend was an unusually good reason to go. Instead of the more typical brain rot on the big screen, a rare message of life, redemption, love, and forgiveness was premiering. Unplanned is the story of Abby Johnson, a young rising star in the ranks of Planned Parenthood who had become their youngest clinic director and been selected as employee of the year. That all changed, however, when she was asked to help the abortionist in an actual procedure by holding the ultrasound transducer so he could see the fetus he was about to kill. Talking points about “reproductive health” and “women’s rights” with regard to abortion are unmasked as the lies they are when it comes to actually seeing another human’s body getting its limbs ripped off and sucked down a suction tube as a result of those “rights”. That critical scene in the movie highlights why ultrasound, and the knowledge it brings, are so useful to the pro-life side of the debate, and so devastating to the pro-abortion side. Hence, abortion supporters must make strange claims like the one in The Atlantic in 2017 (here) that tried to paint ultrasound as a bad thing used by male doctors to focus on the fetus and bypass their women patients. Rather than being a tool of some conspiratorial patriarchy, ultrasound is simply a valuable tool that dramatically increases our knowledge when we can’t directly see something, whether that’s a doctor looking at a human fetus, a veterinarian looking at a dog’s stomach, or a weld inspector using very similar equipment to find hidden flaws in welds (like I’ve personally done). Honestly, some of the defenses of abortion would be funny if they weren’t so sad.
Now, for the review. This movie has had an uphill struggle, from getting an R rating, to a very limited opening in only 1,059 theaters nationwide, to TV and radio networks refusing to air advertisements for the movie, to Twitter suspending their account on opening weekend (just a coincidence, nothing to see here people, keep moving), to Twitter mysteriously decimating their follower count the next day before restoring it again. And yet, the film doubled its expected opening weekend revenue of $3M with a final tally of $6.1 million. That was enough to put it at #4 in the nation for the weekend. Not bad for a low budget film ($6M budget) opening in only a third to one quarter of the theaters of the next 3 films above it.
I thought the movie did a good job of not demonizing Planned Parenthood staff, but rather conveyed that they really did believe (even if wrongly) that they were helping women. The movie also explained that God offers forgiveness to those who repent of wrongdoing. His grace is freely available to all: the women who’ve had abortions like Abby; the men who’ve pressured women into getting an abortion; the doctors like Dr. Anthony Levantino,  who performed hundreds of abortions before becoming pro-life, forsaking killing to return to the doctor’s call to “do no harm”; and clinic directors like Abby, who realized the part she played in arranging the snuffing out of so many lives and asks at one point how God could forgive her. The movie shows through Abby’s story how overwhelming that guilt and grief can be when someone realizes what they’ve done, but also how freeing and life-changing it can be when they bring that sin before God and ask His forgiveness.
The film also did a better job than Christian films have in the past, I think, of showing the complexity of the people involved. Abby’s story is not a 1-dimensional caricature of the “evil abortion provider”. Rather, it shows her coming from a pro-life home, having considered herself pro-life growing up, getting involved with Planned Parenthood in college, and attending church services and having awkward dinner conversations with her family as she worked for the abortion chain. There is a lot of dissonance in her life as she tries to balance living in two different worlds, and Ashley Bratcher did a great job conveying the full spectrum of this story vividly. The supporting cast did exactly what they were supposed to do – support the story. No show-stealing or upstaging here like you sometimes get when there’s too many stars in a movie. In fact, if you’re looking for big names, you won’t find any here. However, to be honest, I’ve seen enough “star-studded” movies that were simply awful; I’ll take a good story over a big name any day.
While this movie delivers a good well-told story of redemption, it also delivers a very sobering reality check for a country that wants to yell at each other about abortion without really dealing with what abortion is. And just as seeing the grisly procedure up close and personal “changed everything” for her, it should for all of us as well. The movie ends with a number that viewers can text if they happen to work in the abortion industry and want out. Just as a clinic director like Abby was able to get out of Murder, Inc., so can others. I would just encourage everyone – pro-life, pro-abortion, and anyone on the fence – to go see this movie and think about it. If you’ve seen it, what did you think? And if you are one who doesn’t want to see it, I’d especially like to hear from you: why don’t you want to see it? Until next time, blessings, y’all!
 What would a movie review be without some trivia? Dr. Levantino actually plays the first doctor in the movie.