After Tiller Screen 7 articles

After Tiller

2013

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  • [Being a doctor who performs third-trimester abortions] is not a choice made lightly by anyone involved, but the admirable, multilayered toughness of these sequences is unfortunately weakened by the filmmakers’ saccharine touch whenever they explore the doctors’ personal lives. Hard-nosed advocacy segues into lefty-evangelizing treacle as a cloying score accompanies a number of dewy scenes... better suited to a maudlin Oprah Winfrey special.

  • ...Both parties are very much aware that a camera is a few feet away, recording every word for a documentary about late-term abortion. That’s not to suggest that anybody is intentionally dissembling—just that it’s about as illuminating as a job interview in terms of what people are actually going through. After Tiller is an hour and a half of folks on their best behavior, presented as a candid portrait.

  • Despite creating a rare documentary that has beautifully composed photography and is proficiently assembled, the filmmakers ultimately fail to make more than paper saints of the doctors they profile. This is not the abortion documentary that we need; it is merely the abortion documentary that we want.

  • These doctors have the courage of their convictions and show courage in leaving their houses every morning, but After Tiller never comes off like an exercise in blind hero worship. It simply tries to show that these people have their own deeply felt, well-thought-out ideological reasons for what they do. They’ve been long overdue for a forum sans cries of “baby killer.” Now hear their side of the story.

  • In the film's saddest scene, she consults with an assistant over the case of a young woman who's decided on an abortion as her best option, but whose religious upbringing has caused her to view the act as morally wrong. It's in moments like this that we get a true sense of the precarious positions of both the doctors and their patients...

  • The interviews are intimate, covering a range of topics that reveal why each has decided to risk life and limb to help desperate women with fetal abnormalities. The film's power is heightened when the camera listens in on deeply personal meetings between the doctors and their patients.

  • This wrenching documentary, profiling the four doctors who still provide third-trimester abortions in the U.S., is remarkable for being so level-headed. Directors Martha Shane and Lana Wilson avoid manipulation, focusing on the doctors' daily responsibilities and framing abortion as a public-health rather than a moral issue.

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