I’ve included resources at the bottom of this list. Try to sit back and hydrate and watch a good movie today. Movies have power. They are not educational or prescriptive tools, movies are for relaxing, thinking, exploring, and feeling your feelings. Please take care of yourself.
I looked through lists and articles all month and each of these articles were fabulous and worthy of sharing. But, more importantly, these movies are great. Check them out.
This first one is a fabulous article! I would click through to read the whole piece for great recent education on such a historic day:
“…The Hays Code (or the Motion Picture Production Code), which was originally published in 1930, enforced in films dating from 1934 and amended later in the 1950s, set strict limits on storylines involving abortion. The parameters of the code, which also regulated depictions of murder, adultery, miscegenation and the appearance of alcohol in films, led to characters who had abortions having unhappy endings, whereas characters who considered getting abortions and then decided against them had more positive outcomes.
The proliferation of television programming in the 1960s brought legal dramas and soap operas with abortion storylines, while the 1970s and 1980s saw more of a professional perspective on abortion. “You see a lot of stories about doctors making a decision about whether or not to provide an abortion, or stories about lawyers who are discussing access from a legal and policy perspective,” says Sisson. “The story of the woman actually getting the abortion is a subplot.” The 1990s and early 2000s often saw last-minute changes of heart, as with Miranda Hobbes’ (Cynthia Nixon) route to motherhood in Sex and the City.
“What we’re seeing now is much more focused on the woman’s experience, and much more of a focus on telling different types of stories for different types of women, so there’s much greater range of characters getting abortions across a greater range of genres,” says Sisson, pointing to the 2014 indie film Obvious Child, the 2015 road-trip film Grandma with Lily Tomlin and last year’s Hulu series Shrill as examples of comedies with abortion storylines. She also says showrunner Shonda Rhimes, who included abortion storylines in her shows Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, has changed the script on the topic. Whereas an abortion might have singularly defined a female character in the past, she says, “It’s become part of a broader story arc for a character, it’s one small part of who that character is and what they do.”
1. Premature (2020) Click To Watch HERE
Abortion is also a part of the coming-of-age story in the Harlem-set Premature, released last month. Played by Zora Howard, who co-wrote the script with director Rashaad Ernesto Green, Ayanna is a 17-year-old falling in love for the first time during her last summer before college. As with Saint Frances, Ayanna has an abortion, and though it’s difficult to watch, it’s treated as part of her character’s journey, rather than the whole focus of it.
2. Swallow (2020) Click To Watch HERE
Similarly, the psychological thriller Swallow, released earlier in March, portrays a medical abortion, as protagonist Hunter (Haley Bennett) places the pills in her mouth while eating fast food in a shopping mall. Producers worked with Planned Parenthood consultants to ensure the depiction was accurate.
3. Saint Frances (2020) Click To Watch HERE
For Saint Frances writer and actor O’Sullivan, it was important to show Bridget as having complicated feelings about abortion — but also that guilt and regret were not among them. “She struggles with this idea of ‘I shouldn’t have to feel anything about having an abortion,’ which I totally agree with,” says O’Sullivan. “Whatever your experience is with it, that’s right. For some women it’s going to be a big deal and that’s right. For other women it will be a blip on the radar, and that’s right. I’m excited to continue to see stories where maybe abortion isn’t the main plot point — where it’s an event, not the event.””
Hadn’t really heard about some of these before (click through for all 12), this is a great list:
Abortion in Film: THR Critics Recommend 12 Movies to Revisit, BY DANIEL FIENBERG, LOVIA GYARKYE, ANGIE HAN, SHERI LINDEN, DAVID ROONEY
4. Dirty Dancing (1987) Click To Watch HERE
“Dirty Dancing‘s cultural legacy may be most strongly associated with Johnny and Baby’s sizzling chemistry and sweet dance moves. But at the heart of Eleanor Bergstein’s script is a clear and unapologetic argument for reproductive choice. Set in the 1960s, the drama sees a working-class girl named Penny (Cynthia Rhodes) left in immense pain after a botched back-alley abortion: “The guy had a dirty knife and a folding table,” her friend bitterly recalls. “I could hear her screaming in the hallway.” Notably, however, Penny’s choice to abort in the first place is never questioned — not even by Baby’s strict father, a doctor who helps her heal afterward. Rather, the film lays the blame for her ordeal on the economic and legal barriers that kept Penny from a safer procedure. In doing so, Dirty Dancing stands as a stark testament of what was gained with Roe v. Wade — and what we stand to lose if those rights are taken away again. — ANGIE HAN
5. The Surrogate (2021) Click To Watch HERE
Without an ounce of preachiness or melodrama, writer-director Jeremy Hersh’s first feature asks tough questions about prenatal testing, eugenics, reproductive rights, parenting, special-needs children and abortion. This piercingly lucid ethical drama is propelled by a performance of stunning psychological insight and raw feeling from Jasmine Batchelor as a single woman who has volunteered to be a surrogate and egg donor for her gay best friend (Chris Perfetti) and his husband (Sullivan Jones). The film is rendered even more affecting by the careful consideration it gives to her character’s fluctuating decision-making in the face of complicating factors. There are no movie-of-the-week histrionics, and zero moralizing — just perceptive, thoroughly absorbing adult drama. Above all, the film is finely attuned to the shifting emotional wavelengths of a female protagonist facing difficult problems for which there are no right or wrong solutions, let alone easy ones. — D.R.
6. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) Click To Watch HERE
The slow-burn chemistry between an artist (Noémie Merlant) and her initially unwilling subject (Adèle Haenel) — who’s also a reluctant bride-to-be — ignites this sensuous and exquisitely measured period piece. Set in late 18th century France, Céline Sciamma’s drama is a lesbian love story, but its true subject is the restrictions placed on women’s lives, and the secret societies they form to protect one another. When a young housemaid, Sophie (Luàna Bajrami), reveals to the two central characters that she’s pregnant and doesn’t want to be, they help her, and in the process their feelings for each other deepen. The film offers a benevolent vision of abortion as a form of sisterly caretaking. In a remarkable scene that Sciamma has said was inspired by Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical memoir L’événement — the source material for Golden Lion winner Happening — the women memorialize Sophie’s visit to the female herbalist who performs her abortion: They capture the event in a painting, insisting on its importance and retrieving it from shame. — S.L.
7. Story of Women (1988) Click To Watch HERE
Claude Chabrol’s film stars the ineffable Isabelle Huppert as Marie Latour, a complicated character based on Marie-Louise Giraud, who in 1943 was the last woman to be guillotined in France, after being convicted for her illegal work as an abortionist. This gripping and complex tale about an enterprising housewife who begins performing abortions in her kitchen to support her family in Vichy France is made all the better by Huppert’s resolute and unnerving performance (she was named best actress at the Venice Film Festival). Chabrol’s layered tale resists sentimentalizing Latour’s work, resulting in an absorbing portrait of a woman trying to make ends meet, and in the process providing a service to women in need. — L.G.”
This entire article is fascinating, click through for more info. But the top films are described here:
8. Happening (2021) Click To Watch HERE
Based on Ernaux’s book, Audrey Diwan’s Happening follows Anne, a promising student in 1963 France who confronts obstacles legal, social, and corporal in her increasingly desperate quest to terminate her pregnancy. The gripping film garnered the Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, in addition to BAFTA and César nominations, and has so far been met with universal critical praise. While the film is set in the past, “sadly, it’s always an actuality,” Diwan says, referring to the new wave of American abortion restrictions.
Diwan discovered Ernaux’s book following her own abortion, drawn to what she calls an “intimate thriller” set inside a body’s race against time. “My goal was not to watch Anne but try to be her,” the director emphasizes, and the film binds viewer to protagonist by focusing on Anne’s shortened breaths and compressing her in the frame with a nearly square aspect ratio instead of the more common wide-screen.
9. Blue Valentine (2010) Click To Watch HERE
All this allows the film’s more graphic sequences to land forcefully; Blue Valentine’s two wrenching minutes on the clinic table, no easy watch in 2010, seem quaint in comparison. Diwan acknowledges that Happening verges on body horror, perhaps unsurprising for someone who found Fight Club and Requiem for a Dream formative. “I love to tell stories through the body,” she notes.
10. Titane (2021) Click To Watch HERE
One scene in Happening echoes a memorable moment from last year’s Titane, by the body-horror impresario Julia Ducournau: a self-induced abortion attempt involving a hair pin. “I think we have something in common,” Diwan says of her compatriot. “We’re both talking about the rage and anger we feel at this moment.” After all, she points out, what women in France experienced 60 years ago sadly remains the reality for so many women around the world today. (Sixty-six countries, where just over a quarter of women of reproductive age live, either prohibit abortion or permit it only if a woman’s life is danger.)
11. Call Jane (Not Yet Released, keep an eye out HERE)
If films showing abortion in its entirety have been rare, fewer still have included such vivid detail. And this year brings two: Happening and the upcoming Call Jane, about an underground collective of abortion activists in 1968 Chicago. “I always knew that we had to show the entire procedure,” director Phyllis Nagy told IndieWire upon the film’s premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, referring to the 10-minute sequence that’s merely the first in a series of terminations forming a narrative arc in the film.
While much less explicit than Happening, Call Jane depicts the surgery with a remarkable level of specificity. Nagy said she hoped the film would speak to “a younger generation of women who grew up with choice, who may be a little bit complacent” about abortion access and serve as “a warning that this may go away” soon.“
Check out this audience-pleaser final list below. These are heading to the TOP of my list today!
“From “Plan B” to “Grandma,” 5 abortion road trip movies that reflect our frustrating reality,” By KYLIE CHEUNG
12. Grandma (2015) Click To Watch HERE
“…Weitzman’s “Grandma,” arguably the first abortion roadtrip movie, follows teenager Sage (Julia Garner) and her lesbian, artist grandma, Elle (Lily Tomlin), and their journey all over Los Angeles to try to come up with $630 for Sage’s abortion without Sage’s mother knowing. Naturally, the two face many roadblocks beyond even the significant cost of the procedure, primarily in the form of anti-abortion stigma as Elle’s ex-husband is initially willing to give Elle money until learning what it’s for.
This movie differs from more recent abortion roadtrip films, which are set in more rural states or states with more restrictions on abortion, requiring their protagonists to travel out-of-state for the procedure. In “Grandma,” the Californian grandma-granddaughter duo isn’t up against pesky parental consent laws that bar minors from having an abortion without parental permission, or lack of nearby clinics — their primary struggle is that they’re broke, and the only people who could financially help them oppose abortion. Here, of course, the movie could have shown the duo seeking help from an abortion fund, which exist solely for this purpose and help thousands of people afford abortion care each year.
“Grandma” is groundbreaking as one of the first movies to focus on abortion and the challenges to get it. But it primarily centers white women’s experience in seeking abortion care, and reinforces the stereotype of only supposedly “irresponsible” teens getting abortions. Weitzman even described Sage as ignorant and representative of the “erasure of women’s history in the minds of young people now,” despite how many of today’s young people are steadfastly politically active, and experiences like Sage’s show why they have to be.
13. Little Woods (2019) Click To Watch HERE
“Little Woods” tells the story of two sisters struggling financially in rural North Dakota, pushed to extremes for survival. Ollie (Tessa Thompson) and Deb (Lily James) are eventually forced to cross the border to Canada so Ollie can complete a dangerous drug pick-up to save their late mother’s house from foreclosure, and Deb can safely get an abortion. Prior to crossing the border, Deb, a single mother without health insurance, learns prenatal care alone would cost upwards of $8,000, and initially plans to have an unsafe, back-alley abortion when she learns the nearest safe abortion clinic is hundreds of miles away.
While “Little Woods” convincingly portrays the realities of rural poverty, and the devastating impacts of clinic shutdowns and lack of nearby abortion providers, its portrayal of Deb’s abortion experience isn’t fully accurate. Specifically, travel across the border to Canada to get safe, legal abortion, as opposed to just traveling across state lines or across, doesn’t really happen. If anything, as Amy Jacobson, North Dakota State Director for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, told Refinery29 in 2019, the opposite is more likely to be true. “We’ve had women from Canada come to us,” Jacobson told the outlet, noting medication abortion specifically has been unavailable in Canada.
Speaking of medication abortion, lack of abortion access doesn’t always lead to dangerous and shady back-alley abortions anymore — not with medication abortion pills, which can make managing your own abortion safe and convenient. Unsafe abortions are still a reality, especially when abortion access is obstructed or banned. But medication abortion, and efforts to make it more available through telemedicine and having it shipped to your home or pharmacy, make self-managed abortion safe.
14. Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) Click To Watch HERE
Pennsylvanian teenager Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) is joined by her supportive cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) on a roadtrip to New York, where Autumn can get an abortion without needing parental consent. From greyhound buses to 2 a.m. subway rides when the girls need a place to stay overnight, the movie shows the unglamorous realities of seeking abortion care on a budget — especially as a teenager navigating a paradoxical legislative landscape that tells you you’re too immature to know you want an abortion, yet mature enough to be pregnant or become a parent.
The movie is intentionally quiet and bleak, with Autumn, its unwilling protagonist, spoken to far more than she speaks. One scene at a “crisis pregnancy center,” or an anti-abortion clinic in which people deceived into thinking the clinic offers abortion care are actually subjected to anti-abortion propaganda, is particularly grueling to endure. Staff at the fake clinic tell Autumn her fetus’s heartbeat is “the most magical sound you will ever hear,” while she quietly turns away from the ultrasound monitor, visibly uncomfortable and disturbed. Hundreds of fake clinics operate across the country, some receiving state funding, and they’ve capitalized on internet search engines to prey on pregnant people at the most vulnerable time in their lives and subject them to disinformation and shaming.
15. Plan B (2021) Click To Watch HERE
“Plan B,” again, differs from the aforementioned titles for two reasons — first, Sunny is seeking emergency contraception, not abortion, and second, its two main characters are young women of color. Of all these movies, “Plan B” is the only one that centers a person of color seeking reproductive care, despite how people of color often face greater systemic barriers to get care.
“Plan B” is distinctly more like “Unpregnant” and “Grandma” with its buddy comedy approach. It also almost has the urgent energy of a time heist, as the teens are on a 24-hour time-crunch to get the morning after pill. The movie’s dilemma, again, arises from a conscience law that allows a sexist pharmacist to refuse Sunny the pill, and unfortunately, laws like this exist in real life and were instated on the federal level in the Trump era. These laws deliberately separate reproductive care from all other health care, and have allowed doctors to refuse to offer abortions or even information about abortion. Of course, if someone wants the “freedom” to not provide health care, they could simply choose to not become a health care provider.
Like “Unpregnant,” “Plan B” destigmatizes reproductive care with its humor. It portrays Sunny and Lupe as two relatable teens struggling to please their strict Indian and Mexican parents, and struggling to fit in at their predominantly white school. While “Plan B” descends into levels of chaos — ahem, automobile theft — reminiscent of “Unpregnant,” it’s distinct in that its protagonists’ racial identities aren’t incidental to the story, but are central to it. This is especially refreshing after years of whitewashed onscreen abortion representation.”
Are you ok? Take extra care of yourself today.
Are you looking for something to do? Donate to AbortionFunds.org and if you live in an abortion-hostile state, go to PlanCPills.org and visit ReProLegalHelpLine.org as well as AbortionFinder.org. Call 1-800-230-PLAN and share this number with everyone in your life. Volunteer at USOW.org/REPRO/
Learn more about the Judiciary Act of 2021 at TakeBackTheCourt.Today