Just Go See Unplanned, Already
Have you been to see "Unplanned" yet?
If not, I highly recommend that you do. You can go online to find out where it's playing and buy tickets. If it isn't available in your area, you can wait and buy it online or on DVD.
If you have seen it, and it's playing in your area, take some friends. Make a day trip of it. You can take your pro-life friends, your pro-choice friends, teens, your older kids, anyone. This movie has a powerful message. We, through our purchase of tickets, also have a powerful message. That message is that we support movies that send the right message and are willing to take a difficult stand to make a difference.
I was able to see the movie last week. Before I post too much in the way of spoilers I will let you know! Here are some "before you go" tips:
First of all, realize that in the world of movies, Unplanned had a pretty small budget. So, if you're going to go and expect Avengers-type special effects you will be sorely disappointed. Manage your expectations.
That isn't to say that Unplanned isn't well done. I think it is very well done. However, there are plenty of Monday morning quarterback types out there complaining about how the movie was poorly done, the acting was subpar, the flashbacks were confusing, everything.
It's fine to critique the movie, but don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Can Christian moviemakers do better? Of course they can, and they should strive to. However, it all comes down to us. If we go to the movies and promote them, investors will be more likely to pony up big bucks and make them better.
Christian movies have come a LONG way. Let's celebrate the accomplishments without running down the people who are surely doing their best to turn out a good product.
Second, Abby Johnson isn't perfect. She isn't the savior of the pro-life movement. But, she is a tough woman who has put herself, and her family, out there in a very vulnerable way. Let's be kind. I have seen people running her down about her reproductive choices, her work in the clinic, her marriage, and even her personal appearance. It's completely unnecessary, unproductive, and unkind. Don't be that person.
Ok, if you haven't seen it, and you don't want key parts spoiled, you might want to stop here. I was able to see it last week, and these are some of the key pieces I took away from it.
I was honestly shocked at how accurate it was. I have never seen an abortion in person, but I have done a ton of reading about it, I have talked to many post abortive women, and I think it is safe to say I know my stuff. Nothing in the movie shocked me from that standpoint. What shocked me was that they didn't sugarcoat it.
I should have known they wouldn't. Abby Johnson isn't the type of person to sugarcoat anything. However, the reality is that some of the truths of the pro-death movement are so disturbing that pro-lifers soften it to avoid seeming like sensationalists. The truth is so wild that it can seem crazy, and sometimes it is better to downplay it to avoid being disregarded.
Unplanned didn't do that. The scenes were brutal, painful, and even gory. Unlike a horror film, they're not fictional. Unlike a scene from a historical film, they're not over. There are young women who are living these scenes out day after day. How do I know that? I have talked to some of them. It's heart wrenching. Thanks to Unplanned, now everyone can see the truth of abortion.
Other than the abortion scenes, which got everyone right in the feels, I was deeply moved by the way the moviemakers portrayed the passage of time. The Carneys were in front of that clinic year after year after year. They prayed, built relationships, and stood their ground without much evidence that what they were doing was working.
They were faithful.
This was tremendously encouraging to me. Sometimes, I feel like I can never do "enough." The problem of abortion is so huge and my efforts are so puny. I see saves and wins, of course, but in my darkest moments it seems so small against the horror of what happens every day.
The movie showed that even though the pro-life workers didn't know how much they were accomplishing, they were making a tremendous difference. Not only did Abby change her mind, but they noted that the amount of no-shows for abortion appointments skyrocketed when the prayer warriors were there.
We're making a difference, even if we can't always tell.
On a lighter note, all of the actresses had excellent lip color. It was downright distracting and I would love to know what they used. So, there were definitely points in the movie where I wasn't focused on my pro-life beliefs because I was busy thinking about how to buy the same lip products. If anyone knows can you please shoot me an email? Kthanks.
Back to the important stuff.
Another part that really got me was the day that Abby and her team worked their tails off to give women abortions before the hurricane. In the movie, Abby is portrayed as being concerned that these women won't be able to get their abortions if they have to wait. Was she genuinely caring for these women? I think so. She thought they needed these abortions, and she wanted them to get them. She was wrong, but I believe she was sincere (even though, of course, there was certainly quite a bit of denial going on).
The part of that scene that stuck with me was after she got home. She comes in the door in her scrubs and Grace asks her if she is OK. Why? Because she had blood on her shoes.
Abby lied to her. She said a woman at work at a nosebleed and she helped her. Then, she sent her off to play. After Grace leaves, she snaps at Doug "nobody said abortion was pretty."
Why did that stick with me? Because when I miss something for my kids, come home late, or come home rattled, I can tell them why. Not particulars, of course, but I can tell them that I was helping moms love their babies.
My kids, even though they're small, love what I do. I don't have to lie to them.
I think a good litmus test for your job is this: if you can't tell the truth to your kids you should probably find a new job.
One more thought, although I could really keep going, and then I will be done. Abby's parents. In the book, you will read more about this, but the basic idea is that Abby was raised pro-life. Doug, her husband, was pro-life the whole time she was working at the abortion clinic. In fact, they even attended a church that refused to allow Abby to join because of her job (they then switched to a church that was less particular).
How did her parents handle it? They didn't condone her choices, but they didn't cut her off either. That's tough. Sometimes, when we try to love our kids, we end up supporting their poor choices. We might give them money we know will be used for drugs, help plan a homosexual wedding, or allow them to sleep over with their partner before they're married. It's hard to stay true to our convictions while still loving our child.
Abby's parents did a pretty good job. I am sure they weren't perfect, but Abby knew that while they loved her - they didn't love her work choices.
All in all, Unplanned was worth seeing in theaters and I will definitely be buying the DVD. If I get a chance, I would love to see it in theaters again. I am also planning to reread Abby's book.
The movie isn't perfect, but it's good. Abby is flawed and human, but she is doing good work.
Above all, let's put our money where our mouth is and support this pro-life movie even if it isn't up to our "standards." Let's show the movie industry that morals matter.
Let's get out there and change some minds.