In the summer of 2008, an abortion assistant snapped a photo that later would stun America. The film Gosnell —reminiscent of the series Criminal Minds— is a docudrama, which materializes as FBI and Philadelphia police investigate Dr. Kermit Gosnell, played exquisitely by Earl Phillips. As the film progresses, drug investigators Woody (Dean Cain), Stark (Alfonzo Rachel II) and District Attorney Lexi McGuire (Sarah Jane Morris) are quickly educated about Dr. Gosnell’s twisted tactics such as keeping babies’ body parts, ignoring filthy conditions and minimally training inexperienced desk clerks to administer anesthesia. When confronted with these shockingly obscene incidents and the reports of Dr. Gosnell surgically aborting late-term babies, killing those delivered alive, Lexi tenses her spine and decidedly defies politically motivated pushback. Fortunately, unbeknownst to her, she has an observant assistant, Molly Mullaney (Cyrina Fiallo), a local gumshoe blogger, able to dig up what the DA’s office can’t.
The film, like the investigation, will undoubtedly meet with animosity from the pro-choice side. A revealing fact in the film is Mullaney’s photo of the empty courtroom seats, reserved for the press, who cannot report on abortion within a negative context. The team also finds the Health Department had specific instructions from the Governor’s Office not to inspect abortion clinics, enabling Gosnell to operate with little or no restraint. Ironically, one of the film’s most enlightening elements is a detailed and factual courtroom explanation of the abortion procedure by a “legitimate doctor,” played quite effectively by Janine Turner. Because the film covers Dr. Gosnell’s trail for murder of one woman and six live infants, the facts about aborting a fetus are naturally carried with it and give this film the breakthrough opportunity to change minds and hearts about abortion.
Gosnell is as well-acted and produced as any big studio release, and although an organ is shown during an autopsy and there is some light profanity, it is made thoughtfully and carefully as not to frighten or focus on gory details. To ensure accountability, the producers claim, “Most incidents portrayed are exact representations of court transcripts, police interviews or eye witness accounts.” In the end, this film isn’t about abortion on trail, but about hearts on trail. In the spring of 2013 an abortion assistant had a change of heart, and her five-year-old photo of Baby Boy A, born alive, then killed, shocked the jury deciding the verdict of Dr. Gosnell’s trial. She had acknowledged personhood. The biblical worldview celebrates the sanctity of human life created by God in His image and acknowledges He knew us before we were born. Ultimately, in that important sense, the film stands to defend our Creator and although most older teens should be able to view it with no problem, this film merits the Dove-Approved seal for Ages 18+.
What to talk about
This is a true story of fighting against the odds to bring a killer to justice. His preferred method of killing actually protected him from scrutiny. The press can alter the news by intentional omission. Infants, both inside and outside the womb have personhood.
The Dove Take
Gosnell is a breakthrough film unmasking the realities of abortion rising from the investigation of the crimes of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, known as “America’s most notorious abortion doctor.”