I’ve posted before why I don’t care for most faith-based movies, but I have happily found another exception—but it’s a tough one to watch.

Unplanned is playing in theaters, and it is well worth your time and money. It is the true story of Abby Johnson, the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic, who walked away from it all after she saw an actual abortion.

So why does this film work? First, it’s a true story. Second, there is no sermonizing or heavy-handed message—and they had plenty of opportunities to do so. Instead, the directors just let the story unfold.

The actors did not play caricatures. Admittedly, I was a little antsy about this, because the directors are the ones who gave us God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2, two films in which every character seemed to be a caricature of an “over-the-top” Christian or a sneering unbeliever.

Unplanned gives us believable characters. Even those who worked in the Planned Parenthood clinic came across as likeable. Only one of the women morphed into the evil persona often associated with Planned Parenthood, but it was still believable. And speaking of the evil persona of Planned Parenthood, no attempt was made to criticize or disparage the people who worked there. This movie offers no libel suit for Planned Parenthood to pursue because of defamatory remarks. Again, the directors just let the true story unfold.

That’s not to say the film glosses over the wrong and injustices in the abortion industry. The directors let Abby’s story unfold and let us see the wrong without preaching at us.

The only jerk in the movie was one unnamed Christian with only one scene. Unfortunately, it was not a caricature either. He captured the essence of those who so rail against abortionists that they appear not to have an ounce of love or Christlikeness in them.

One thing has always bothered me about Sanctity of Human Life events: we tend to solely focus on the evil of killing unborn babies. We should certainly not be silent on that, but I’m also concerned for those who have an abortion in their past. My heart goes out to the women who had abortions and now struggle with their guilt.  The church needs to be open with them about the forgiveness and grace of God.

This movie offers that opening. Such women (and the men who encouraged their abortions) will not feel “beat up” after watching Unplanned. Quite the contrary. Abby Johson, the protagonist, had two abortions of her own, and in the film, we see her struggle with guilt and receive grace.

Go see Unplanned. Don’t let the R rating keep you away. It received that rating for some intense scenes (frankly, I’ve seen PG-13 movies with worse), but it is nothing gratuitous or inappropriate. I would rate it a PG-13, but please note this is not the typical faith-based film that sugarcoats everything.

After you’ve seen Unplanned, come back and leave a comment. I’d love to know your reaction.

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