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Gosnell Movie Opens to Much Controversy, Few Reviews

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There are claims that Facebook is blocking ads for the pro-life film, and major movie critics are pretty much ignoring it.


kermit gosnell movie

Left: Actor Earl Billings as Kermit Gosnell. (Image via Hat Tip Films LLC). Right: Kermit Gosnell in his Philadelphia Police Department mugshot.

It’s been more than four years since over $2 million was raised through crowdfunding to make a Kermit Gosnell movie, and today, that film finally hits theaters. But you might not know that.

We searched high and low for reviews of Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer among the usual suspects, but reviews by mainstream critics for the Gosnell movie are scarce. Nearly non-existent, actually.

As of Friday morning, the only Gosnell movie review that we turned up using Google and the newspaper database Nexis is this one in the Los Angeles Times.

Film critic Michael Rechtshaffen remarks that the Gosnell movie could “never be mistaken for having a liberal bias,” later using terms like “sanctimonious” and “sensationalistic” to describe it.

The Gosnell movie is, of course, an exploration of the crimes of notorious Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell, who performed abortions at a West Philadelphia medical clinic. (In search of source material, the producers of the Gosnell movie optioned this story by longtime Philadelphia magazine contributor Steve Volk in 2014.)

In 2013, Gosnell was convicted of first degree murder for killing three babies in botched abortion procedures. He was also convicted of performing illegal late-term abortions. Prosecutors said that he killed infants by cutting their spinal cords with scissors.

Here’s a trailer for the Gosnell movie:

“What’s is that smell?” asks Dean Cain’s character, a Philly detective, upon entering Gosnell’s clinic for a search — a search that uncovers no shortage of body parts and other horrors. The role of Gosnell is played by Earl Billings, who is best known for playing Rob in the 1970s sitcom “What’s Happening!!”

Outside of the mainstream media, there’s plenty of coverage of the Gosnell movie.

Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin calls it “the most important movie you’ve never heard of.” There are reports that Facebook has refused to run ads for the Gosnell movie. In one recent interview, the filmmakers said that they couldn’t get their ads up on NPR either.

gosnell movie poster

A promotional image for the new Kermit Gosnell movie Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.

Naturally, both sides of the abortion debate have been fighting over the film’s distribution, with pro-life activists lobbying theaters to screen the Gosnell movie and pro-choice advocates pressuring theaters not to do so.

“This movie deserves to seen by everyone,” wrote Marjorie Dannenfelser, chair of the Donald J. Trump For President Pro-life Coalition and president of the pro-life organization The Susan B Anthony List, in an email to followers earlier this week. “But as they’ve shown, the mainstream media has no desire to tell the truth about Gosnell and his crimes. They don’t want people to know the truth about abortion and they don’t want people to know the truth about what goes on behind the closed doors of abortion clinics.”

The film’s availability, perhaps not surprisingly, changes with geography. It’s downright easy to go see the Gosnell movie if you live in places like Texas or Alabama, while there’s literally only one movie screen in all of Manhattan showing the film.

Here in Philadelphia, the only theater within city limits screening the Gosnell movie is way out in Franklin Mills. It’s also showing in Media, Bensalem, Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Plymouth Meeting and Oaks.



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