Robin Orlowski | United States | 02/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Abortion?s current sound bite nature means that both sides of the debate forget the women wanting control of their own bodies--and lives. Graphically showing how government decisions impact private citizens, this film places women back into the center of this social issue. The audience is constantly reminded each of the women in the vignettes is a three-dimensional person with dreams and aspirations; only a callous person would believe women undertake abortions for fun. I have previously seen many horror movies, but nothing prepared me for grim "1952". Discovering she is pregnant, nurse Claire Donnelly tried to obtain a safe illegal abortion. Repeatedly suggesting death/mourning (ironically in a supposedly 'pro-life' era) Claire's world is intentionally drab and the frequently drawn curtains also convey secrecy and shame. The white nightgown worn on the night of her septic abortion made her already pale complexion even more ghostly. Watching this segment is still very hard, and sensitive viewers should not eat during this segment. Demonstrating a clear difference between pro-choice and pro-abortion personal belief systems, "1974" is the most complex segment. Non-traditional college student Barbara Barrows wants to have it all, but is not initially sure she wants another child or a newly legalized abortion procedure. Barrows is trying to be open minded about her gender's new possibilities (she uses her class to explore women's issues and reads Our Bodies Our Selves) but she is also wrestling with her cultural and generational conscience which saw abortion as taboo. I could have done without the one-dimensional portrayal of 'feminism' through Barrows's teen daughter (who believes abortion is the best option for all women) but overall thought this piece was essential to the abortion issue's political reality. Having the right to choose does not mean much if anybody on any side of the issue forces you into something you cannot live with. Maybe it's my generational experience, but "1996" was overwhelmingly cobbled from current headlines. Having seen the real-life clinic violence on my nightly news, I believed this piece was largely redundant. It was however interesting to see the difference between the robotically peaceful (but creepy) female anti-choice Clinic protestors and the inevitably psychopathic male protestor (who somehow was able to get into the procedures area). Obviously unable to afford many of the security measures used by real-life women's clinics (metal detectors) the fictional women's health clinic was ultimately besieged by a so-called 'silent type' instead of the loud protestors it had invested so much time and resources preparing against. The house itself is metaphor for the changing reproductive rights status: A) In 1952 the house/choice is dilapidated and has wasted potential. Although it could look nice, it is only half finished and (again) invokes hiding/shame. B) In 1974 the house/choice looks very put together and strong. This environment is inherently very nurturing and friendly. You really want the house/choice to stay in this condition forever. C)In 1996 the house/choice initially look okay, but closer inspection reveal time (state/federal legislation) has worn it down and unless somebody quickly intervenes, we are on our way back to 1952. The catch is that some people in my generation do not initially realize what a world without choice is really like. We take our reproductive rights for granted until we loose them."
A Powerful Take on a Continuing Controversy
K. Downey | Atmore, AL | 04/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This trilogy of stories is both powerful and thought provoking. The movie follows the stories of three women of different eras who are conflicted regarding their unplanned pregnancies. While fictional in form, in reality it reflects the changing views and policies toward abortion from the 1950's to the present era. The setting of all three segments is in a single house. This masterful production/directorial technique seems to be symbolic for an issue which has always been controversial to many. As the house becomes more and more dilapidated over each segment, we also see that the right to abortion is becoming a compoundingly fragile right that could be taken away at any time. Instead of gaining strength over time, the volatile issue is subject to the demands of the political party in command.The dynamics of the eras are reflected so realistically in each segment, that a viewer cannot help but to be actively drawn into the drama. The segments feature all-star casts including such heavy hitters as Demi Moore, Sissy Spacek, Cher, Anne Heche, and Jada Pinkett. Cher deserves special attention for both directing and acting in the excellent third segment. Rather than pro-choice, I think the video challenges us to think, "What if there were no choice?" This is recommended viewing for women and men alike, and this movie will stay in your thoughts for a long time to come."
Brent Shelton | Los Angeles, CA USA | 02/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very moving trilogy of shorts. Takes a women's view point on the difficulties of deciding on whether or not to have an abortion. As I am in my 30's and have always only been aware of a "Roe vs. Wade" world, the first short was shocking in what what women used to have to endure. While abortion is such a difficult issue and while I consider myself to be pro-choice, I also feel I can see and understand some of the pro-life arguments. The first short in this trilogy made me feel even more strongly that we must never totally outlaw abortion again. The cost would be to high in the end. Buy or rent this video and see what your thoughts are at it's conclusion. All three stories are excellent, moving, and thought-provoking in their own ways."
Good movie, but biased...
Jen | 06/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll start off saying that even as an abortion supporter, I found the movie biased. The one segment of three, which was set in the 70s and acted brilliantly by Sissy Spacek, where the woman chose not to have an abortion was the weakest. The story focused more on her life rather than the abortion, and I jus felt it didn't speak to me as much as the first and last segments. It was still good, but that segment seemed out of place. I also found the 70s segemnt out of place in the sequel, but that's a different subject. The first segment, set in the 50s spoke to me the most. You could feel Demi's pain. I wanted to just strangle her sister. As I said before, the 70s segment was acted well, but lacked a moving story for me. I just didnt feel for Sissy's character like the other two. The last segment, set in the 90s, ws my favorite. Maybe it was because it is more relevent to me, since it's when I grew up. The end was really an unexpected turn, and superbly acted by Matthew Lillard. He reeked of ignorance and to what me seemed like insanity. Props to Cher (flashback to clueless with that...) for directing that scene as well as acting in it. It was wonderful. That last shot form above was amazing...Overalll, a good movie. I agree with an earlier reviewer in the fact that it should be shown in a health class to show girls about the options they have now, and educate them."