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'Unplanned' Directors Explain Great Irony of Film's R-Rating

"Unplanned" movie trailer (screen capture: YouTube)

“Unplanned,” the highly anticipated film about former Planned Parenthood director-turned-pro-life activist Abby Johnson, was assigned an “R” rating earlier this month by the Motion Picture Association of America.

Pure Flix Drops Trailer for Highly Anticipated ‘Unplanned’ Movie

The film, which hits theaters March 29, was produced by Pure Flix, whose past films like “God’s Not Dead” and “The Case for Christ” were wildly popular among the company’s primary audience: families with children. But despite concerns that the R rating could hurt the movie’s chance of becoming a box office hit, the film’s directors have discussed how this new development might just be a blessing in disguise.

In a recent interview with Christian movie review website Movieguide, “Unplanned” writers and directors Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, who also wrote “God’s Not Dead” and “God’s Not Dead 2,” noted that the MPAA’s reasoning behind the R rating actually highlights truths about abortion they hoped the film would communicate.

“‘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,” the filmmakers told Movieguide. “Ironically, the MPAA seems to be indirectly endorsing the pro-life position: namely that abortion is an act of violence.”

They added that “even more ironically, as a result of the MPAA’s decision to give us a ‘Restricted’ rating, many teenage women in this country who can legally obtain an actual abortion without parental permission will be prohibited from going to see our film containing simulated images of abortion, without obtaining parental permission.”

An “R” rating prohibits filmgoers under the age of 17 from attending a movie unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. But as far as the directors are concerned, that might not be a bad thing at all.

“… maybe it’s all for the best: As the wife of our lead film attorney put it: ‘This is a movie that every mother of a teenage girl needs to take her daughter by the hand and go see with her.’  So as far as we’re concerned, ‘R’ means ‘Recommended,’” they said.

The R rating is just the latest of many challenges the filmmakers have faced in bringing Abby Johnson’s powerful story to the big screen. As Faithwire reported back in September, the $6 million movie was secretly filmed in an undisclosed Oklahoma location.

In an interview with Faithwire earlier this month, director Chuck Konzelman said the pro-life film was made “for such a time as this,” as several states are advancing radical abortion laws.

Last month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed into law a bill legalizing abortion “at any time when necessary to protect a woman’s life or health.” Lawmakers in Virginia, Rhode Island and Vermont have since promoted similar bills.

“We couldn’t have foreseen the rapid developments that are suddenly coming to a head,” Konzelman said, “but we serve a God who could, and did.”

To learn more about the film or to pre-order tickets, click here.

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