Friday, 19 July 2019

An Unplanned Silver Lining

Well, that was a roller-coaster ride, wasn't it?

Unplanned, the movie about the very questionable events around the conversion of a pro-choice Planned Parenthood employee into a howling fetus freak, has mostly finished its run in Canada.

It opened in March in the US, but not in Canada. Some of the cast spoke at the March for Lies in Ottawa in May. Sponsored by some Conservative MPs, it was screened as part of the bun-fest.

The next we hear of it is that it was "banned." No, it wasn't, it just did not have a Canadian distributor. "Wah-wah-wah," from the anti-abortion crowd, "we are being persecuted. Again."

The same gang of MPs, led by Brad Trost, agitated online to bring the movie here. (Now that Trost has lost his nomination bid for re-election, he is free to be all anti-abortion all the time. See his Twitter account.)

So then it got a distributor, who moonlights as a Christian pastor.

A few independent theatres agreed to show it. But then there were
allegations of threats
made to two indy houses. "Aha! See? It's the pro-choice side that's violent!!!"

Then Cineplex and Landmark Cinemas announced they were giving it a limited run in a few of their theatres.

There were protests by pro-choice people against Cineplex.

The protests centred around the fact that the story itself is highly dubious (see first link), the depiction of abortion is misleading, sensationalized and just plain wrong, and the portrayal of abortion providers shows them to be cartoonishly evil. In short, it is USian anti-choice propaganda.

Anyway, the film ran, there were a few protests, and reviews were written. In the opinion of NOW's film critic, Norm Wilner, the whole schmozzle was orchestrated and we were all played.

As is clear from the links above, Canadian mainstream media covered the hoopla.

But what about the reviews?

It has been said that bad reviews are more fun to write -- and read. ALL the reviews of Unplanned here are bad. And fun. Canadian movie critics had a ball with Unplanned.

(The Guardian review has been included because it's fun too.)

Here are five Canadian reviews from mainstream outlets: Maclean's, Winnipeg Free Press, Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, and even the Toronto Sun. A "fact check" piece was done by the Toronto Star.

All the reviewers call the movie "propaganda."

All the reviewers question the truthfulness of the story.

And three of the five reviews, plus the fact check, counter the movie's lies with facts.

First from The Guardian, Jordan Hoffman, March 29.
The deck:
In a dim-witted Christian drama part-financed by the disgraced founder of a pillow manufacturer, a woman discovers abortion is evil.

Despite the many ghastly scenes of blood (so much blood), Abby has her epiphany observing cheap, risible CGI of an ultrasound. A fetus presents what could be misinterpreted as fear or pain during the procedure. As Abby mugs, the callous doctor barks orders and the music swells just as the prayer group is mid-chant outside. We get corny closeups of medical tubes overflowing with what look like raspberry Icees. It’s enough to make anyone turn to a higher power, just to get this movie to end!

Next, from Maclean's Anne Kingston, July 15. Kingston also counters lies with facts and questions the story's truthfulness.

Such [ethical] queries aren’t pondered in Unplanned, a movie whose disturbing content has less to do with gore than its stealthy scare-mongering and misinformation about abortion that could put women’s health at risk.

From Winnipeg Free Press, on July 15, Jen Zoratti:

In Unplanned, abortion is depicted as dangerous, scary and something obtained only by white teenage girls. In reality, the procedure is safe, common and women from all socio-economic backgrounds access abortion care. The thing about propaganda is, it has to be persuasive to be effective. Unplanned is too simplistic to do much more than preach to the converted.

Now for a quite glorious review by Barry Hertz on July 10 in the Globe and Mail.

Anti-abortion film Unplanned is a disgusting piece of propaganda that may endanger the health of women

Unplanned will make you writhe in agony over how such an ugly, malicious and potentially dangerous piece of religious and political propaganda could have made its way into this world.

On July 11, Chris Knight of the Ottawa Citizen weighed in.

But none of this matters, because the film is preaching to the choir; no one who disagrees with its central tenet will be watching. And even if presented to a mixed audience, Unplanned is neither smart enough to rally anyone to its cause, nor dumb enough to alienate those who believe its message. As propaganda, therefore, it’s basically useless.

And finally, the surprise from the Toronto Sun by Liz Braun on July 9.

People are not protesting the movie here for pro-choice reasons but for pro-truth reasons — the film is said to be full of misrepresentations about abortion procedures (bloody! dangerous! terrifying!) and lies about Planned Parenthood, suggesting the organization pushes abortions. In fact, Planned Parenthood is a crucial health service for women in America and provides cancer screening, birth control materials and counselling, Pap smears, breast exams, STD testing and other services.

Just to round out the coverage, here is the fact check piece by Cherise Seucharan and Tessa Vikander from July 12 in the Toronto Star.

For pro-choice in Canada, while the movie is dangerous, it has proved to have a silver lining. The mainstream media agree: anti-choicers tell a lot of lies that the media is prepared to call out and counter.

And there was a very satisfying response of outrage and protest from ordinary people on social media and letters to the editor. Plus, of course, people who actually turned up to demonstrate.

There is absolutely no doubt. The response to Unplanned proves it. Canada is pro-choice.

UPDATE: July 21/19
More proof that Canada is pro-choice and wants nothing to do with USian propaganda bullshit.

Cineplex and Landmark chains refuse to extend Unplanned's one-week run.

In Lethbridge, two pro-choice groups paid to run ads with the movie.
Moreover, two local groups — one styling itself the Concerned Citizens of Lethbridge, the other a “pro-choice” association — each paid for a 15-second still advertisement in the eight-minute rotation that plays while people wait for the movie to begin, Binning said.

The Concerned Citizen ad stated: “The Unplanned movie is grossly inaccurate; for more information from a real medical professional go to” and the message from Pro-Choice Society of Lethbridge & Southern Alberta read: “Abortion? Birth control? We support and empower reproductive choice.”

And 68 radio stations have refused to run ads for it.

Canada is good.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Milner’s response is about what you can expect of people with the luxury of looking at it as a game, like well-off pundits who reduce electoral politics to horse races. The Canadian media’s response has been a pleasant surprise. As for Cineplex/Landmark, there are plenty of other fish in the cinematic sea, and if I can mangle Kate Moss ever so slightly, “Nothing looks as good as self-respect feels.”

p.s. Thanks for your dedication to Canadian womens’ rights and well-being over the years. I visited here often during the Harper years, because I could trust you to be as angry as I was.

fern hill said...

Aw, thanks. I just pray there isn't another age of rage looming.

Kim said...

Glad to see you are well fern. Onward sister.

fern hill said...

Thanks, Kim.

Scott in Montreal said...

Hi fh, didn't even know we were both still here! I haven't been blogging much myself since my latest creation was born.

The Cider House Rules would be a better choice for our cinemas to re-release.

Abortion is a health issue and a woman's choice. Abortion availability is still not where it needs to be in a lot of Canada. But alas, that's on the provinces.

With Scheer as the most likely replacement in Ottawa, I sure as hell hope he doesn't win. He'll be Harper with a smile all right; an evil Joker smile.

fern hill said...

Yep, still here. But sporadically for me. Sorry I didn't get around to publishing your comment earlier.

The Feds can influence abortion access by getting serious about the Canada Health Act. Threaten transfer payments unless the provinces get their acts together.

And I hope to hell you're wrong about Scheer.

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