Gosnell Movie - A powerful & emotional story

Gosnell Movie Review

I laughed. I cried.

Like... literally.

The Gosnell movie opened on Friday in select theaters across the nation, and my wife and I went.

When prosecutor Lexy McGuire (played by Sarah Jane Morris) quipped, "I have five kids, what do I know about abortion?" it was a genuine and funny moment in an otherwise dark and evil case. I chuckled loudly.

The jurors reacting to a gruesome photo of "Baby Boy A" was powerful. The twelve actors in that jury box conveyed the horror and revulsion, without the audience ever seeing the image. I wept - just reading their faces.

Dean Cain's portrayal of Detective James Wood helped convey an urgency that helped move the courtroom procedural along at a good pace. I also got the sense that Cain and Alfonzo Rachel were actually police partners, so smooth and easy their relationship seemed.

Earl Billings as Dr. Kermit Gosnell was brilliant in his creepiness - whether it was playing piano as police searched his house, feeding turtles in a filthy clinic, portraying himself as a women's health hero, or twisting in agitation over peoples' inability to understand his "research."

Director Nick Searcy said Billings' background in comedy helped capture the sometimes whimsical nature of the Philadelphia abortionist.

Searcy also played a powerful role as Gosnell's lawyer - delivering some of the most powerful (if aggravating) arguments and information during the trial. He nails the role of the polished, smart, prepared, and cutthroat big city defense lawyer.

I was really impressed with two actors who I'd never seen before, but gave fantastic performances.

Cyrina Fiallo played the sarcastic and intrepid web journalist Molly Mullaney. I could never get a read on what her angle was as she popped up at the crime scene, in a coffeehouse, and at the trial. Fiallo was Mullaney, and her performance provided a layer of intrigue that kept me guessing until the very end.

Another actor who blew me away was Lauren Armour - who played a young nurse at the clinic who took the photo of "Baby Boy A." Her performance from the witness stand was gripping - as she gave us a slight and fleeting moment of humanity in what was a horror house of depravity. I never doubted for a second that she was constantly struggling to make some sense of an inner debate that raged within her. Taking notice of Baby Boy A's brief life was so pure in its simplicity, it distilled a complex and explosive issue into clear and sad focus.

The actual crime scene images on display during the credit roll kept me in my seat until the lights came on in the theater.

According to Lifezette, Gosnell had a very successful opening weekend, earning half of its budget back.

Though it debuted in only 673 theaters, the film made $1.2 million, averaging over $1,800 at each location.

To put that number in perspective, “Gosnell” crowdfunded its budget of only $2.4 million, and the $59 million “First Man” opened to just $16.5 million in over 3,600 theaters.

While “First Man” had an aggressive advertising budget, the creators of “Gosnell” pushed it mostly through social media.

Its $1.2 million opening covers half its budget and sets it well on the path to profitability.

Congratulations to everyone who made this movie happen.

Pete's Prep Sheet: Monday, Oct. 15, 2018

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Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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