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A trilogy of stories set in the same house, but with different occupants and spanning over 40 years, deals with various women and moral crisis over unexpected pregnancies and their choice of abortion. In 1952, when abortion was illegal, a nurse deals with her unexpected pregnancy and takes drastic measures to get one. In 1974 a family housewife with four children discovers that she's pregnant and decides she can't handle another child to raise. In 1996, a pregnant college student decides on an abortion, but doesn't realize the means to go through to get one.Written by
Among the characters in IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK, there is a doctor, an abortionist, played by Cher. We know she is a doctor because she is wearing a white smock, but even so she looks like Cher, just as if she were taking a break between concerts. She meets a fan, er, uh, a patient, who wants an abortion. Oozing with sympathy and sweetness, Cher shows us just what a wonderful, life affirming operation an abortion can be.
In the film we also meet a couple of people who are against abortion. One is played by Eileen Brennan as a sweet, lovable, bubble-headed idiot. The other is a man who is portrayed as a raving maniac who burst into Cher's cozy little abortion clinic and wildly starts shooting people.
Now, ya got that? Abortion equals Cher, glamor, female bonding. Anti-abortion means bubble headed idiots and homicidal maniacs. That is the level on which this simplistic little movie works.
The sad thing about this film is not that it is so obviously pro-abortion, but that it has so little faith in its beliefs that it won't even try to deal with the issue with any honesty. I have little doubt that all involved made the film with the firm conviction that they were being bold and courageous in revealing the "truth" about a controversial issue. The fact that they believe this is sadder still.
The film doesn't even come close to dealing with the conflicts -- morally, ethically, philosophically -- that swarm around the issue of abortion. The filmmakers want us to know that there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of reasons for a woman to have an abortion; but they won't even allow for the possibility that there might be even one single logical reason for an unborn child to have the right to live. The film doesn't want to deal with questions of when life begins, or if a fetus has value beyond being the property of the mother, or if society should have the right to protect all life, or if abortion is anything other than a simple act of selfishness. In short, the film doesn't want to defend itself in any debate where it might not win. Pity a woman in a dilemma? Of course. Pity a child thought to be disposable? Huh, what? Don't know what you're talking about.
The film rather smugly expresses pity for the grandmothers and mothers who never had abortion as an option, missing the obvious irony that if those women had that option, the makers of this film might not even exist to produce this propaganda. How many of these women exist because the law recognized their value and protected them?
This film makes me think of DEAD MAN WALKING, a film about the death penalty. Tim Robbins, the director and writer of that film, apparently opposes the capital punishment, but his film honestly takes a look at the issue from every angle and neither patronizes nor trivializes any side of the controversy. Robbins gets his message across, but has enough faith in his belief that he doesn't resort to cheap sentimentality or manipulation, plus he assumes the audience is smart enough to decide for themselves what is morally right.
The same cannot be said for IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK; it assumes it needs to pander to its audience. In a way, WALLS is anti-woman; it takes for granted that women are victims and seems to assume that women will just be confused if exposed to opposing view points. WALLS is just -- you should pardon the expression -- preaching to the choir. It is designed to spoon feed comforting self-righteousness to pro-abortion supporters. Yes, women are victims. 'Nuf said! Anyone who disagrees need not watch.
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