REVIEW: Why ‘Unplanned’ should not be rated R

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Sometimes, the Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings board gets it wrong.

Like it did with The Rookie, which was rated G but should have been given a PG due to a surprising amount of coarse language and a few thematic elements.

Or Titantic, which was PG-13 but should have been R due to a nude scene that doesn’t belong in anything below the most strict mainstream rating.

Or like this week’s abortion-themed film Unplanned, which was slapped with an R even though similar content — and, honestly, content 10 times worse — can be seen in PG-13 movies nearly every weekend of the year.   

Unplanned tells the unlikely true story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood director who quit her job after witnessing an abortion to become a pro-life advocate.

It stars Ashley Bratcher (90 Minutes In Heaven) as Abby; Jared Lotz as Shawn, a pro-life worker with 40 Days for Life; and Emma Elle Roberts (I’m Not Ashamed) as Marilisa, another worker with 40 Days for Life.  

Unplanned contains no sexuality, only minor language (h-ll, 2; d–nit 2; a– 1), and less violent and disturbing content than you’d see in your average PG-13 Marvel film.

That’s not to say Unplanned is a G-rated cupcake party. It’s not. But it’s also not an R-rated slasher film, either.

The film never shows an abortion from the perspective of the doctor. Instead, we see an abortion take place on a computer screen (a sonogram), as the small baby is in the picture one instance and gone the next.

Later, we see a clothed woman sitting on a toilet, blood dripping off the seat. She steps in the shower (still clothed) with blood dripping down her leg. She picks up a bloody blob off the floor and puts in in the toilet (presumably it was the small baby).

In another scene, a father pressures a teen girl to have an abortion; there are complications in the room but she survives.

Still another scene shows pieces of an aborted baby on a table. All total, these scenes last perhaps five to 10 minutes. Most of the movie focuses on Abby’s journey.

It’s an R-rated film appropriate for teens and some tweens.

It’s also a convicting film. Most pro-choice Americans, after all, are just like Abby Johnson. They’re pro-choice because they’ve never had to watch an abortion. They’ve never had to consider the ramifications of their stance. It takes place in a private clinic, in a private room, behind closed doors.

This doesn’t mean it’s necessary to watch an abortion to transition from pro-choice to pro-life. But it does mean that when we consider what abortion is and what it involves, we are faced with a moral choice that many people would rather avoid.

Unplanned requires us to think about what abortion really is.

Go watch it. 

Read the interview of executive producers, Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, at Southern California Christian Voice.

Michael Foust
Michael Fousthttps://michaelfoust.com/
Michael Foust is the husband of an amazing wife named Julie and the father of four young children. He has covered the intersection of faith and entertainment for more than a decade. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com

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