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Courtesy of UnplannedFilm.com. All rights reserved.[/caption] Remember how at the end of Titanic no one left the theatre? The audience sat in silence through the credits, processing the tragedy they had just watched. This night was no different, except this time the tragedy being processed was the reality of abortion. The story was told so well, and the characters … man, their emotions became your own. Unplanned is based on Abby Johnson’s life, as she shares through her memoir. The transparency that Abby has given to this story is truly remarkable. Abby’s humility is one to be admired by all. During the film my heart filled with gratitude for Abby’s openness with decisions she made in her life, but also with gratitude for the movie creators and actors that had no problem putting their careers on the line to bring Abby’s raw story to the big screen. That takes courage only the Spirit can provide. These people are warriors. The movie left you physically and emotionally aching by the end. "Sneak peek screening event for Unplanned" by Stephanie Stovall (CatholicMom.com) From left: Chris Jones and Daryl Lefever (Producers) Jim Beckman (Archdiocese of OKC Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis) Mike Manhardt (Production Team) Brooks Ryan (Played Doug Johnson) Ashley Bratcher (Played Abby Johnson). Copyright 2019 Stephanie Stovall. All rights reserved.[/caption] After the movie there was a Q & A with producers and the actors who portrayed Abby (Ashley Bratcher) and Doug Johnson (Brooks Ryan). They were received with a standing ovation. Bratcher shared she was offered the part and then had to be on a plane to Oklahoma five hours later. She immediately called her husband and said, “Hey, I got the role! Um, by the way I’m leaving before you get home from work.” She then went on through tears to tell her powerful personal testimony. On the fourth day of being on set, Bratcher’s mom called. She decided to share with her mom where she was and the project she was working on. Bratcher wanted to be sensitive while telling her mom details about the movie, knowing her mom had an abortion as a teenager. Bratcher’s mom broke down and went on to tell her about the day she almost aborted Bratcher. Her mom had been sitting on the clinic bed, waiting for the procedure to begin when a very pregnant nurse walked in to examine her. Overwhelmed by seeing the nurse’s belly, her mom walked out and chose to keep her baby. Speaking about God she says, “He plans our steps from conception.” You could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room. Brooks Ryan then shared his own story. When he was 12 years old he was inspired by the movie Good Will Hunting to become an actor. He walked out of the theatre, “… as a 12-year-old, my emotions were so moved and I was impacted in a way that I just looked up to God and to the universe and said, I’m going to do that one day. I’m going to be a part of something that stirs people’s emotions like that.” Ryan left that stirring untouched until he was 25 years old. Feeling stuck and isolated while working in his home state of Oklahoma, he regretted not ever moving to New York or Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Then one day he heard God say, “You’re going to do it from Oklahoma and you’re going to do it when I’m ready for you.” Ryan then went on to share the story of God bringing him out of that isolation and to finding his wife. “She has saved me in so many ways, but she had a past of her own, including a doctor one day stopping her IVF treatment halfway because the numbers were so bad. He looked at her and he said you’re never going to have children of your own. And if you want your body to have them, you need to consider a donor, otherwise you need to consider other options.” She shared this with Ryan early on while dating. Once they knew they were meant to be together, “I began praying over her womb every night … and here we are: In less than two years we have a 17-month-old and 5-month-old.” The audience erupted with applause.
“ … To hold our children, life means so much to us. As we know it means so much to others. And when you watch this film and you’re a part of it, your emotions are moved unquestionably and all you want to do is reach out and just say anybody that’s impacted negatively, that it doesn’t have to be that way. People will love you, God will love you, and that there’s hope and there is mercy and there’s grace and redemption. And that’s what we want to show with this film, and that’s what Abby’s life shows us.”
But I have to say, the highlight of the entire night for me was the car ride to the screening. I had the privilege of having dinner with Ashley, Brooks, the producers and other pro-life champions. Towards the end of dinner Ashley, along with a a dear friend of mine and I struck up the beginning of a great conversation about God moments. Those little moments when God reaches down and makes a connection with us through people, circumstances and holy signs. We were so into the conversation we decided to ride together to the screening. In the car, Ashley shared her heart so openly, and what struck me the most was her unwavering faith in God. She spoke of how she finds none of her value in her projects, but in God alone. She has no fear of not ever working in Hollywood again after this film, because in 2012 she gave her career over to God and she knows He will take care of her either way. Then we bonded over our love for Hallmark and I thought dang, this girl is the real deal. At the end of the night one of the producers told us of ways we could help the film. The number-one thing that was requested was prayer. One Facebook you can search for Unplanned Movie Prayer Team and join the cause. They are also in need of financial help for marketing. You can go to UnplannedFilm.com to donate. Finally, go see the movie! Get a big group together for a night out. This movie has the ability to change hearts and save lives. How are you going to help?
Copyright 2019 Stephanie Stovall