Unplanned is polarizing; it’s a pro-life film which obviously reaches out to its target audience. Whichever side of the proverbial aisle you fall on shouldn’t matter; a film deserves to be reviewed on its own merits. Unfortunately for directors Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, Unplanned comes across as an inadequately acted, poorly told mess of a story that could easily be viewed as shameless propaganda. Based on the real-life story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life activist, Unplanned is 105-minutes of brutal imagery, emotional manipulation, and dehumanization of pro-choice supporters. Pure Flix’s first rated R feature film only boasts a couple positives: Ashley Bratcher truly grows into her role throughout the movie, and the story of Abby Johnson is interesting enough at face value.
Abby Johnson (Ashley Bratcher) is recruited by Planned Parenthood as a college student, and she is excited to fight for a women’s right to choose. Having gone through a couple abortions at a young age, Abby feels it is her duty to help women in similar predicaments. Swiftly climbing the ranks of the organization, Abby becomes the youngest director in Planned Parenthood history. After a horrifying experience in the surgical room, Abby decides that it is time to shift gears, and she deserts her role.
This film does not offer anything of substance. It is an extremist point of view when it doesn’t need to be. Abby Johnson has an intriguing story. At the very least, a story about a prominent Planned Parenthood director flip-flopping so abruptly makes for some good drama. Unplanned should be viewed with an open mind and a grain of salt because the directors (who also penned the film) do not seem to respect their audience enough to think for themselves.
The acting in Unplanned is boorish, sans the lead actress. Bratcher starts out uncertain, but there is evident growth and a sense of confidence in her role. The support she receives is nonexistent, as most members of the cast look like they had not acted in a high school play, much less a feature film. Neither is the cast supported by the movie’s writing. This combination of acting and writing actually make for some pretty comical moments in a completely serious film.
Unplanned is divisive. The pro-choice crowd will demonize it, and pro-lifers will love it, but the fact of the matter is that it’s just an awful movie. There is very little that is interesting, acceptable or coherent about this adaptation of Abby Johnson’s journey, and the directors should be ashamed of their efforts.
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