“Unplanned” — a pro-life film partially financed by My Pillow founder Mike Lindell — has been given a surprise R-rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, the trade association which determines the suitability of film content for viewers.
The MPAA cited “some disturbing/bloody images” in its rationale for the judgment call, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film’s production team has pushed back in a letter to the MPAA.
“We consider the MPAA’s current standards to be deeply flawed, insofar as they allow scenes of remarkably graphic sex, violence, degradation, murder and mayhem to have a PG-13 rating, whereas our film, highlighting the grave dangers of abortion in a straightforward manner, is considered dangerous for the American people to view,” said Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, co-writers and co-directors of the film.
“The film tells the true story of Abby Johnson, who defected from Planned Parenthood to become a pro-life activist. While the filmmakers were certain they were making a PG-13 film, the MPAA has informed them that it will, in fact, be rated R unless all scenes of abortions are removed or altered,” the Reporter noted.
The movie, a feature-length production, is set to be released on 800 screens on March 29. It is being distributed by PureFlix, a Christian movie studio that produces, distributes, and acquires “Christ centered movies,” according to its mission statement.
The distributor has never been given an R-rating on any of its productions. They do not plan to alter the finished production however, and are unlikely to appeal the decision — an effort which could delay the film’s release.
“This story needs to be told and the message needed to be delivered. It is our calling as Christians to tell the story about the moral implications of abortion that the mainstream media refuses to acknowledge,” PureFlix president Michael Scott told The Reporter.
But there could be a hidden cultural benefit in the decision.
“Unplanned is an R rated film which has no MPAA cautions for profanity, nudity, sex or violence — except for violence directly associated with the abortion process. Ironically, the MPAA seems to be indirectly endorsing the pro-life position: namely that abortion is an act of violence,” the two filmmakers told MovieGuide.org, a family-oriented review site.
They plan to invite President Trump to screen “Unplanned” at the White House.
Mike Lindell, who invested $1 million in the production, has a cameo role in the movie, showing him bulldozing a Planned Parenthood clinic to clear a site for 40 Days for Life, a pro-life group.
“I’m pro-life and I’m happy to do it,” Mr. Lindell said in October.
• Jennifer Harper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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