According to the LA Times—the newspaper of the movie capital of the U.S.—“Two movies with anti-abortion messages seek distribution.” And if the pre-distribution news is correct, they take very different approaches.
Both of them - at least to those "in the know" - carry clear off-screen indications that the movies are intended to strike a cord with those involved in the abortion debate.
As the LA Times notes, one of the movies - "Dooby" - includes a cameo appearance by Norma McCorvey (better known as "Jane Roe" of Roe vs. Wade, and who is now pro-life) plays a pro-life cameo. In fact, the movie is set in her hometown. The other movie - "Life Zone" is by a director (and republican candidate for NJ house) Ken Del Vecchio, who sees his movie as a clear message piece again abortion.
With neither in the theaters yet, it's difficult to tell what they're like. And the biggest question...will they get a distribution deal and actually make it to the theaters? But here's what's known so far:
Director: Kenneth Del Vecchio
Genre: horror-flick-meets-morality-tale — with a very supernatural twist at the end.
Plot: Three women go in for abortions, and wake up in unreal predicament. They appear to have been abducted from the abortion table, and are being kept in a different facility until they give birth. Kept by a repulsive, overbearing, video-conferencing jailer, and attended by a female doctor, they undergo a seven-month “think-tank” regarding the facts and morality of abortion.
Interesting because…: the situation is a picture-perfect pro-choice nightmare—women forced to carry to term. (I kept rereading the LATimes title doubtfully - is this really an anti-abortion movie?) It takes a natural process—pregnancy and giving birth—and puts it in an unnatural context: forced dependency (actually, much like the “forced dependency” of an unborn child). As one character notes, the only way anyone is getting out alive is by giving birth. But then there’s a twist—is this real life, or the afterlife?
My hunch: is that it is one of the most clever plots to take abortion head-on. But does it go too far in moralizing al Dante at the end? Leading to the question: Is there a “wrong way” to do an anti-abortion movie?
Director: Peter Mackenzie
Genre: Small-town mystery
Plot: A mysterious drifter (John Schneider) “quickly makes himself indispensable to a small Texas town. The secret of Doonby’s past lies in the only person in town he doesn’t like — a gynecologist named Dr. Cyrus Reaper (Martin Sheen’s brother Joe Estevez).” (LATimes summary)
Interesting because…: Besides choosing "Jane Roe" connections, another interesting choice is that it approaches the male-view of abortion as a mystery. While you read about people having abortions to “cover up” that they were pregnant or sexually active, abortions are often even more hidden in the lives of men. As one website says, “Men are hidden partners in every abortion decision.” Not in the room, often not even part of the decision, it leaves so many questions, many elements of mystery to unravel—mysteries that cannot be solved. For some men, there are so It’s a mystery who they might have been if their child lived, how they got to be “that man” who encouraged an abortion or couldn’t provide enough for his girlfriend/wife to feel comfortable having their child, or couldn’t protect his kid for more than a trimester. Moreover, these become cold-case mysteries in the hands of another man—the abortion doctor. And since men often struggle with emotions on their own rather than “talking it through” with another person...is this a sort of cultural, theraputic self-reflection?
My hunch: is that it’ll be well-crafted, an interesting combination of subtle and punchy (literally), telling a story with abortion, rather than being an “abortion movie”—and offer a masculine view of abortion regret/memory/intrigue rarely explored in Hollywood. It’ll be interesting.