Abby Johnson (Ashley Bratcher) was recruited by Planned Parenthood to do volunteer work when she was still an undergrad at Texas A&M. Her first job was to escort women seeking abortions from the parking lot into the building, past picketers calling them baby killers.

Upon graduating from college, she was hired as a counselor at the reproductive health services provider’s clinic in Bryan, Texas. Over the course of the next eight years, she rose up the ranks to office director, even though she was privately conflicted over whether the organization’s primary function was to inform pregnant women about their options or merely to perform abortions.

After all, she not only came from a conservative, pro-life family, but felt overwhelming regret about the two abortions she had undergone herself earlier in life. So, between pressure from her parents and the almost daily confrontations with demonstrators, Abby’s conscience began to get the better of her.

The moment of truth arrived the day her help was urgently needed in the operating room. And, for the first time in her career, she observed an actual abortion. 

She was shocked by the gruesome procedure which left her convinced that the fetus was a baby. In fact, she felt so guilty that she decided to resign and join the pro-life protesters marching outside the building.

That is the touching transformation convincingly conveyed in Unplanned, a poignant, cinematic portrait co-directed by Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon. Unfortunately, abortion is such an incendiary issue, this is the sort of film audiences will be inclined to judge without seeing based on their political persuasion, although it’s adapted from Abby Johnson’s very personal memoir.

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for disturbing images

Running time: 110 minutes

Distributor: Pure Flix Entertainment

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

For movies opening March 29, 2019

WIDE RELEASES

Dumbo (PG for peril, action, mature themes, and mild epithets) Family-oriented fantasy about a baby elephant with big ears who’s the laughingstock of the circus until it is discovered that he can fly. Co-starring Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Alan Arkin, Eva Green, and Michael Keaton.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

The Beach Bum (R for pervasive profanity, graphic sexuality, and drug and alcohol abuse) Matthew McConaughey plays the title character in this screwball comedy revolving around the misadventures of a hedonistic rebel who lives by his own rules. With Snoop Dogg, Isla Fisher, Martin Lawrence, Jonah Hill, and Zac Efron. (In English and Spanish with subtitles)

The Brink (Unrated) Political biopic chronicling the efforts of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to mobilize right-wing voters. Featuring commentary by TV pundits David Frum, Michael Wolff, and Ari Melber.

The Chaperone (Unrated) Elizabeth McGovern plays the title character in this adaptation of Laura Moriarty’s best-seller of the same name, set in the Roaring Twenties, about the woman who agreed to escort 15-year-old aspiring film star Louise Brooks (Haley Lu Richardson) from Kansas to New York City. Cast includes Blythe Danner, Miranda Otto, and Campbell Scott.

Diane (Unrated) Mary Kay Place portrays the title character in this poignant portrait of a selfless soul who divides her time between charity work and trying to save her drug-addicted son (Jake Lacy). With Estelle Parsons, Andrea Martin, and Joyce Van Patten.

Lost & Found (Unrated) Serendipitous Irish dramedy inspired by the real-life encounters of seven strangers whose paths cross by chance at a rural train station’s Lost & Found office. Starring writer/direct Liam O Mochain and a supporting cast featuring Norma Sheahan, Brendan Conroy, Seamus Hughes, Lynette Callaghan, Liam Carney, Barbara Adair, and Aoibhin Garrihy.

Notebook (Unrated) Romance drama, set in Kashmir, about a soldier-turned-teacher (Zaheer Iqbal) who falls in love with a colleague (Pranutan Bahl) after reading a diary she left behind in a classroom. Featuring Muazzam Bhat. (In Hindi with subtitles)

A Vigilante (R for profanity and violence) Olivia Wilde handles the title role in this revenge thriller about a battered housewife who takes the law into her own hands on behalf of herself and other victims of domestic abuse. With Morgan Spector, Kyle Catlett, Tonye Patano, and C.J. Wilson.

This Week’s Top Ten DVD Releases

  1. If Beale Street Could Talk
  2. Stan & Ollie
  3. Capernaum
  4. Aquaman
  5. Isiboshwa
  6. The World Before Your Feet
  7. Brighton Beach Memoirs
  8. Second Act
  9. Hostage
  10. Rich Girl

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