Filmmakers Stephen Fell and Will Thompson, having gained unprecedented access to the inner workings of pro-life groups across the country, have created an ungainly, distracted, but nonetheless fair-minded look at people who actively work to chip away at Roe v. Wade. Inside Focus on the Family headquarters, an instructor asks students to consult the “What If She Was Raped?” section of their Justice For All manuals about how to gingerly bring their pro-life message to students on college campuses. Unless their playing to the camera, you believe them when they say they don’t intend to lecture anyone, and when one young man repeatedly and unfortunately asks the Lord during a fervent prayer to “penetrate” pro-lifers with the truth, the filmmakers avoid mockery, marveling instead at the way religion is inextricably tied to the issue of abortion in this country. In fact, they have great respect for the vigilance of the pro-life cause, even when members of the crusade, unwittingly or not, spread lies (during a rally, a woman flaunts her missing breast and claims a link between abortion and breast cancer) or their hypocrisy slaps them in the face, as in a college student belligerently but rightfully calling Focus on the Family out for speaking sweetly to a college crowd but using pictures of aborted fetuses as their backdrop (essentially the equivalent of screaming). Things get interesting when the subject turns to Jesus and whether he would have used graphic images to put his message across, at which point The Passion of the Christ takes center stage and believers seem confused as to whether Jesus’s grand exit was orchestrated by himself or Mel Gibson. Fell and Thompson are not intellectually invested in scrutinizing the relationship between religious fervor and the issue of abortion, but they balance their interviews with crazies like Don Spitz from Army of God with some very humane portraits of people who’ve given burials to fetuses thrown out by abortion clinics and, most touchingly, a woman who uses arts and crafts to capture the development of the fetus from inception to delivery as a means of coping with the loss of a miscarried child. Unborn in the USA will not change your mind about abortion, but it will make pro-choicers think differently about people who actively work to stop it from happening.
- First Run Features
- 101 min
- Stephen Fell, Will Thompson
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