Category Archives: Film/Television

Unplanned

While the acting and directing could be better, Unplanned presents the experience of Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood (PP) clinic director, who does a complete 180° transformation on her views on abortion after viewing an abortion. There’s a lot of flashbacks that go from post-transformation to Johnson’s college days when she had two abortions and when she became a volunteer for PP.

The actress who plays Abby does a fine job, as do some other supporting actors, like Abby’s husband and parents, but many of the actors don’t have much to work with and I think could benefit from a script that gave characters more facets and personality. The director could also have developed those features more.

The film has some gory moments as it holds nothing back. There are scenes which feature the blood and gore which are part of the patient’s experiences. I wouldn’t bring children to this R rated film. While Gosnell, tells a story about abortion, it’s not as graphic, though the actions of Kermit Gosnell were more violent. Gosnell kept the gore to the minimum.

The film did inform me. I didn’t get have much knowledge of what it’s like to work in a PP clinic. The characters, except for the director, were shown as well-intentioned people. The first director does seem one-dimensional, but a lot of people do see their bosses as stereotypes. In this case the director is all about money and she does show what a business this is. As the director, Abby’s mentor, said, “non-profit is a tax status, not a business model.” The film does show PP’s sales techniques and vision for growth. Like many businesses, the goal is to grow and to pressure customers to use a service so there’s more money for a big new office or center.

The film has a message and it does a decent job of conveying it through the life story of Abby Johnson.  It did make me think and it seemed authentic.


Monsieur Vincent

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Vincent tries to get someone to adopt this orphan

When Monsieur Vincent opens, we see Vincent Depaul entering a deserted town. Whenever he knocks on a door, someone throws rocks at him from the second floor. Finally, Vincent who’s the new priest in town gets let inside. He discovers that the aristocrats inside are hiding hoping to avoid the plague. They’re in the midst of a wild party just in case they don’t escape the plague.

As the new priest, and one that lives the gospel, Vincent tries to convince the nobles to take in a girl whose mother has just died. They’re all to scared. He winds up taking her in a very modest room he’s rented.

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Vincent’s wisdom is revered by the rich. He’s soon the mentor and spiritual guide for a wealthy couple, but he wants to help the poor. When he tells his patrons that he plans to leave they keep him near by supporting his charity efforts more. This works for a while, but eventually Vincent goes to Paris where he begins a charity for the poorest of the poor.

Throughout his work with the poor, Vincent recruited wealthy women to help him and found great frustration when they didn’t agree with his ideas of expanding and expanding their charity programs. Eventually, realizing that people who understand the poor may be better to work with, he taps a poor girl to become one of his first nuns. Actually, she came to him and the light bulb went off.

I went to a high school named after Louise de Marillac, a wealthy woman, who became key to Vincent’s outreach to the poor. In the film, she’s just in a couple scenes. You can see that she’s a peer of the wealthy women, so Vincent wants her to lead them, though it’s tough to convince these opinionated women to trust Vincent. (St. Louise de Marillac wound up leading the Daughters of Charity, an order of nuns that serves the poor.)

This bio pic was interesting and well done. I was surprised that so much of the time Vincent Depaul dealt with administrative issues and trying to persuade the aristocracy to help him more. I thought he was more “hands on.” In any event, the film moved along well and introduces people to this 17th century saint.

In French with subtitles.


Adam’s Apples

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A very black comedy from Denmark, Adam’s Apples follows a neo-Nazi ex con out to a small church in the countryside led by Ivan, a pastor who’s so optimistic and positive it’s both annoying and just very weird. Adam can’t figure out Ivan the weird priest or the other misfits at the church. He has no faith whatsoever and immediately replaces the cross in his room with a portrait of Hitler.

Ivan tells Adam he needs a goal, something to strive to complete his community service. As a sort of smart aleck response, Adam says his goal it to bake a pie. While most normal priests (or people) would say, “Make a real goal.” Ivan accepts this goal and shows Adam the apple tree out front. This simple goal soon becomes a big challenge.

Plague upon plague befalls Ivan, yet he never lets his faith slip or reason prevail. It drives Adam absolutely crazy, though everyone around him, misfits all, seems to accept Ivan.

The film gets darker and darker, yet ends boldly and on just the right note.

This film is different, fresh and engaging. You can stream it on Netflix.