Philadelphia, the historic city where abortionist Kermit Gosnell practiced for decades, has given little attention to the new film exposing his horrific trade.
“Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” opened Oct. 12. It follows the true story of Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortionist who murdered newborn babies and committed numerous other crimes inside his “house of horrors” abortion facility. It stars Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark”) and is directed by Nick Searcy (“The Shape of Water,” “Justified”). It broke into the top 10 films in its first weekend.
Philadelphia Weekly recently reviewed the film and noted the lack of publicity in the city.
“There’s a movie out on notorious abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. But you wouldn’t know if you live in Philly,” the headline reads. Listings on the film website do not show any theaters in Philadelphia showing the film. The closest showings are in Media and Plymouth Meeting, both about a 45-minutes drive out of the city.
Writer Stephen Silver blamed the filmmakers for the lack of local publicity, claiming they did not make “any effort to engage with the area film community.”
“There was no local premiere for ‘Gosnell,’ nor was it screened for the area’s film critics,” Silver wrote.
He also criticized the filmmakers for their choice of location, physical portrayals of the characters and emphasis on the news media ignoring the infamous case.
According to the review:
In the movie itself, none of the characters sound like they’re from Philly, and the streets don’t look anything like Philadelphia streets. Yes, there are numerous Center City skyline establishing shots, and at one point someone mentions the previous day’s Eagles game. But when it comes to showcasing the authentic Philly experience, this is no “Rocky.” It’s not even an “Invincible.”
Also, don’t expect to see any recognizable Philadelphia people. The names have been changed for most of the lawyers and other principals in the trial, possibly because the real-life judge sued the filmmakers over his depiction. Also, Michael Beach plays the district attorney, “Dan Molinari,” who I guess is supposed to represent Seth Williams, but he’s for some reason made up (with bald head, glasses and goatee) to look a lot like then-Mayor Michael Nutter.
The film is not a documentary, though. It is a crime drama based on a true story.
Silver’s biggest issue was the film’s criticism of the news media for ignoring the case. He claimed the filmmakers bought into “false narratives – most notably the one pushed back in 2013 that there was a ‘media coverup; of the Gosnell case to minimize Gosnell’s crimes and protect the pro-choice cause. This wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now.”
He mentioned a number of local reporters who covered the trial as well as a Pennsylvania reporter for the Associated Press, a national news agency, and a CNN reporter as evidence to contradict this. However, a horrific murder case of such magnitude typically receives much more national news coverage than what Gosnell initially did. Furthermore, no one denies that the local media covered the case.
In 2013, a jury convicted Gosnell of murdering three newborn babies and contributing to the death of a female patient, along with numerous other crimes. He was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison. The grand jury report indicates abortion activists ignored Gosnell, allowing his horrific business to continue for decades.
The filmmakers continued to encounter pro-abortion media biases when trying to develop, advertise and release the film. Four years ago, their struggles began when the crowdfunding site Kickstarter refused to allow producers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney to fundraiser there. They later broke a crowdfunding record on Indiegogo.
Director/actor Nick Searcy said they finished the film two years ago but struggled to find a distributor. More recently, two prominent media outlets – NPR and Facebook — refused to run their ads for the film. And now, theaters are dropping the film, despite it doing well at the box office. The film Wikipedia page also may be deleted, the filmmakers said Monday.
“Hollywood didn’t want the #GosnellMovie made. Then, critics refused to review it. Theaters refused to show it. Now the GOSNELL @Wikipedia page is being ‘considered for deletion.’ The censorship must end,” they wrote on Twitter.
The film is rated PG-13. Hundreds of theaters across the U.S. are showing the film. For more details, visit gosnellmovie.com.