I’ve been following Unplanned since it was first announced. When I learned the behind the scenes story of actress Ashley Bratcher, I knew I had to see it. I was especially excited because two of the Unplanned actors are actors from our movies. Robert Thomason, who was Graduation Speaker in Summer of ’67, is Abby Johnson’s dad in Unplanned, and Stacey Bradshaw, who was Teen Rachel in Providence, is Karen, one of the pro-life volunteers.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with the movie. Honestly, I expected it to be heavy on sermon and light on story. I also assumed it would be pretty graphic since they gave it an R rating. I was pleasantly surprised by the story itself and appreciated the unexpected editing of time as well as the artistic techniques.
As a filmmaker, I found Abby’s abortion scene to be particularly cinematic. The gore didn’t bother me because I was too busy appreciating the camera angles and editing. I also appreciated the juxtaposition of the teen girl’s abortion gone bad with the praying crowd outside. The frantic hand-held camera during the trauma added to the emotional impact. Finally, I loved the use of closeups on the eyes. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, and in this case, the filmmakers made certain to allow us to glimpse into the character’s souls through their stylized camera work and lighting.
Pure Flix isn’t known for having sympathetic antagonists, but with the exception of Cheryl, the Planned Parenthood characters are shown as sincere in their desire to help women. Even Cheryl, while tough, is typical of many women in corporate management positions.
I came out of the movie feeling a burden for all the women involved. For those who have chosen abortion, for those who are working in the clinics, for those who are standing outside praying. Each woman is following her heart and doing what she thinks is best. Unfortunately, the effects of their decisions can be longstanding, and it pains me to think of the guilt and suffering that many of the women deal with.
If you’re not already following Unplanned on social media, you’ll want to do so to read the behind the scenes stories of God at work through the making of the movie and now through the screenings.
Unplanned opened in 1,000 theaters and is expanding to an additional 700 this weekend. Whatever side of the argument you’re on, you need to watch this movie to have a better understanding of what these women are going through. And bring a package of tissues. You’re going to need them.