Given what a towering source of anguish abortion has been for the country, both before and after Roe, it is surprising how seldom Hollywood has taken up the subject. Until this latest litter of flicks, the only prominent one was “The Cider House Rules” (1999), in which Michael Caine played an abortionist-as-hero. (Hollywood loved that one: two Academy Awards!) What is striking, but not surprising, about films that do tackle abortion is how the “products of conception” end up having no claim on the audience’s sympathy. They’re like so many extraneous scenes left on the cutting-room floor. Perhaps expending screen time on what–or who–might have been would clog the narrative, and anyway, what a drag.
Better to touch on the melancholy and physical suffering of the adults. Better yet to cast any such suffering in solipsistic terms that will be pleasantly painful for the audience while not forcing anyone to think too hard about what, exactly, was aborted. Thus the new Alfie, jogging to keep warm as he waits outside the clinic, muses: “I find myself having regrets. Here’s another kid you’ll never get to know–your own.” I, me, mine, you, and yours but, er, what about the kid?
The whole thing is here.
And this week’s Fever Swamp is here.