Roe v Wade was a controversial vote by the US Supreme Court in 1973 over whether abortion should be legalized across the US, following its earlier legalization in New York state.
Following an early personal tragedy, Dr. Bernard Nathanson (Nick Loeb) is a leading abortion advocate, making a tidy living by performing abortions in New York. Together with writer and journalist Larry Lader (Jamie Kennedy) the pair lobby for the "Right to Choose": to legalize abortion across the country. They 'recruit' Norma McCorvey (Summer Joy Campbell), under the pseudonym of Jane Roe, to headline their case.
Against them are the 'Pro-Life' lobby headed by Dr. Mildred Jefferson (Stacey Nash) with Henry Wade (James DuMont), the district attorney for Dallas County, being the opposing plaintiff.
- It's a brave team that put a movie together about such an emotionally charged subject, and Nick Loeb and crew should be congratulated for being brave enough to do so.
- As in "The Trial of the Chicago 7", this was subject matter from the era from the US 1960/1970's that I was completely unaware of, so I didn't know where the movie might go (no spoilers here).
- The movie plays its cards pretty close to its chest for most of the running time as regards whose 'side' it is on: pro-Life or pro-Choice. You see each team working their own corner, and the facts for and against are provided to the viewer (which Nick Loeb asserts have been thoroughly fact checked).
- The film comes to life most in some of the legal debates between Professor Robert Byrn (Joey Lawrence) and his students. These were the scenes which I enjoyed most, and Lawrence delivers one of the better acting performances in the movie.
- There's fun in seeing a lot of 'old pros' appearing in cameos as the supreme court judges: Jon Voight ("Mission Impossible"); Bond villain Robert Davi ("Licence to Kill"); Corbin Bernsen ("LA Law") and Steve Guttenberg ("3 Men and a Baby").
- There's no polite way to say this, but as a relatively low-budget movie, some of the supporting performances are on the decidedly ropy side.
- I wanted to see more of the legal debate between the members of the Supreme court.... but I suspect the shooting time available with these 'big name' actors was limited. That's a shame.
- This is not a "Trial of the Chicago 7", and the script is NOT by Aaron Sorkin. It generally lacks polish. And there is way too much "Oh, hello --Insert full title and name of character here--" which is distractingly unnatural (just use sub-titles!).
- Those familiar with my blog will know of my UTTER HATRED of voiceovers in movies! This is deployed throughout (by Nick Loeb) and irritated me enormously. More "Show".... less "Tell"!
- The movie doesn't know when to quit. There is a natural and dramatic "end point" to the story. But the movie tacks on multiple 'epilogue' scenes. Some of these are interesting and informative, showing broadcasts of the 'real-life' participants. Others are superfluous, and lessen the overall impact of the message. IMHO, it would have been better to end at the natural end-point of the story, then 'do a "Sully"' by dropping the real life photos and interviews as insets into the end-titles.
I'll sometimes put 'warnings' for sensitive viewers into my reviews. As the subject matter is abortion, then this may naturally self-deselect certain viewers. But to be clear, the movie does 'go there' in two short, almost subliminal, scenes that will almost certainly upset any parents that have been through any form of pre-natal loss. Watcher beware.
(For my full graphical review, please check out One Mann's Movies on the web or Facebook. Thanks.)