Movie Review: Gosnell

There is a moment in this movie that stood out to me as being pivotal both in the internal story of the (successful) effort to convict Philadelphia abortionist/serial murderer Kermit Gosnell of murdering infants who had been born alive and in the external world of the film as it related to the approach of the movie towards its subject matter.  The moment begins with what appears at first to be a botched attempt on the part of two detectives to talk with a witness who is about to appear on the stand and ends with sobbing and shaken jurors and audience members who have seen a bombshell development of a photograph taken by one of Gosnell’s employees of one of the babies who had been born alive and then murdered by the doctor.  In that moment I saw that the movie was going for maximum emotional power–something the movie as a whole did well–but was not going for shock value, although the picture could be seen by those people who wanted to go to the film’s website to see it.  I thought that restraint admirable, and it demonstrated that one can convincingly deal with the subject of abortion while not giving the audience traumatic sights of the violence it involves.  It should be noted, though, that the moment was slightly less dramatic in the actual case, as the photo was part of the grand jury evidence and was not a last-minute courtroom surprise.

Over and over again in the trial of Gosnell, it is repeated that the murder trial was not about abortion [1], because abortion is still legal in all 50 states as I write this.  However gruesome and unpleasant and immortal abortion is, it is not illegal to kill an unborn child.  It is, however, illegal to kill a child once it has drawn breath.  One can provide “comfort care” until a child dies naturally if it has been mortally wounded in the womb through chemical abortion, but one cannot actively kill a child who has drawn breath, even in our debased and corrupt times.  Gosnell’s commitment to population reduction is what passes as women’s rights to many people, and the movie does a great job at making him as slimy and unsympathetic as possible as he plays classical music on the piano, has untrained teenage employees with color coded sheets of paper to keep their dosage regimens straight, and has exotic turtles and a large amount of cats present in his decidedly unpleasant clinic and claims not to be wealthy despite having a large amount of properties and cash lying around and keeping the feet of murdered unborn (and fully born) children as trophies for some kind grotesque purposes.  Even if the trial wasn’t about abortion, this movie was, without a doubt.

There is a lot this movie does well.  Adapted from a book about the trial, the movie is solidly directed by Nick Searcy as a true crime movie in docudrama fashion.  The writing is gripping, and the acting by a mostly unknown cast (except for Dean Cain, who plays a tough-talking Philadelphia narcotics officer who trips onto the Gosnell murder case while pursuing leads about phony pharmacy scripts) is stellar, showing how the horrors of abortion as practiced by Gosnell took a toll on those who who were involved on the case.  The film also makes strong strong and mildly Nathanish points about the power and worth of bloggers who follow a story wherever it goes and do not have the same sorts of hangups and bias as the mainstream media who largely ignored the Gosnell case and have equally ignored the movie that demonstrates their failure to adequately cover this case until shamed into doing so by social media.  Despite the general horror of the movie’s subject matter, it generally stays pretty close to the transcript and eyewitness testimony of the case, avoids any gratuitous gore, and is full of touching moments, including the movie’s theme song “Song For The Innocents,” by Five For Fighting, played during the credits.  Bring a box of tissues for this movie, and prepare to be outraged by what you see here.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Movie Review: Gosnell

  1. Pingback: Someone’s Freedom Is Often Someone Else’s Tyranny | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: What Kind Of World Do You Want? | Edge Induced Cohesion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s