Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer (2018) Poster

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"So this is what happens when you try to help people."
classicsoncall15 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I offer as my summary line the words of Dr. Kermit Gosnell as he was being arrested for murder, not because I sympathize for the man, but because for the rest of the story his attitude, demeanor and virtual cluelessness about the sanctity of human life demonstrated just what a monster he was. He freely admits to his defense attorney (actor and director Nick Searcy) that he had no respect for the laws relative to the performance of legal abortions, thereby giving him the 'right' to flaunt those laws. It wasn't until the very first guilty verdict was rendered by the jury foreman that Gosnell (Earl Billings) even displayed any sort of unpleasant emotion; up until then his behavior suggested that he was innocent of any sort of wrongdoing.

What surprised me most about the story was the manner in which it was conveyed, without the expected lurid and graphic details of an illegal abortion clinic. To be sure, the conditions were horridly filthy at 3801 Lancaster Avenue in the city of Philadelphia, but the film's restraint came into play regarding the results of Gosnell's procedures. We get to see numerous hazardous waste bags that contained human body parts, but the closest one gets to see the results of a late term abortion are the jars of baby feet in formaldehyde. it's the one that made a number of jurors actually cry when shown during the trial.

Surprisingly, I thought the defense attorney's line of questioning of various witnesses actually might have helped the prosecution, and I had to wonder why he took the approach he did. One example was the cross examination of former Gosnell employee Betty Goodwin (Dominique Deon), the assistant who took the picture of Baby A. Nevertheless, the eventual guilty verdict sent Dr. Gosnell to prison for life without parole, a man who apparently had more compassion for his exotic pet turtles than he did for the babies he executed.

The hell of it is as I write this, the states of New York and Virginia have just recently passed measures to legalize what Dr. Gosnell did, that is, allow the extermination of babies that survive an unsuccessful abortion attempt. Adding further insult, at least in the case of New York, the procedure may be carried out by non-medical personnel if a doctor cannot be found willing to do it. Having carried the reproductive rights agenda to it's extreme, it's no wonder that more and more outrage is being directed at the proponents of abortion at any time for any reason.
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Ripped from the headlines
BandSAboutMovies15 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Kermit Gosnell was a Philadelphian physician and abortion provider convicted of three cases of first-degree murder for infants that were alive when he killed them, the involuntary manslaughter death of a patient undergoing an abortion, 21 felony counts of illegal late-term abortion and 211 counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law. Obviously, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. This film tells his horrible tale.

The film was originally intended to be a made for TV movie, but the filmmakers later decided to make it into a feature film. They finished filming in 2015 but ran into difficulties finding a distributor to carry the film, as well as a lawsuit by a judge who objected to his portrayal. It also had negative run-ins with Kickstarter, which censored its email advertising before raising over $2 million dollars on Indiegogo.

Finally, this movie - directed by character actor Nick Searcy (General Frank Hoyt from The Shape of Water) - was finally released in 2018.

This controversy went on after the film was released, with the filmmakers claiming that multiple theater chains dropped the film after its first week. And Searcy later wrote an op-ed for the National Review where he claimed that the film would cause him to be shunned in Hollywood.

Honestly, it all feels rather like a rerun of a second string Law and Order ripoff. But hey - Dean Cain is in it! And the owner of Rob's Place from What's Happening! plays Kermit!
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3801 Lancaster Avenue
lavatch3 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
In the prosecution's case against Dr. Kermit Barron Gosnell, a concerted effort was made to not argue the pros and cons of abortion. Instead, the goal was to address the facts of an alleged pattern of homicide committed at the clinic at 3801 Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. So, too, the filmmakers of "Gosnell," were able to stay away from the politics of abortion to raise awareness about a relatively unpublicized trial in 2013.

It is also a credit to the film artists that they were able to withstand a media boycott that clearly limited the opening of their film in movie theaters around the nation. After a modest premiere in limited theaters, the film was released directly to the public. Apparently, the initial DVD release of "Gosnell" was a top seller on Amazon, beating out award-winning films like "A Star is Born" and "Bohemian Rhapsody," and its entire inventory at Walmart stores was sold within a matter of days.

Whether the viewer is pro-life or pro-choice, the film tells an important story not in some distant time in the past when "backyard mechanics" were the main venue for abortions, but a clinic in Philadelphia in contemporary times run by Dr. Gosnell from 2009-13. The trial before the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania found the doctor guilty on multiple counts of murder, and the jury was clearly able to set aside their views on abortion to examine the evidence objectively. Dr. Gosnell is now a lifer with no chance of parole.

Beyond the good performances of the district attorney Lexy McGuire, as played by Sarah Jane Morris, and the undercover cop James "Woody" Wood, as played by Dean Cain, the most interesting character was a reporter-blogger named Molly Mullaney, as played by Cyrina Fiallo. The reporter, who was obviously pro-choice, was successful in looking at the case impartially and succeeded in providing invaluable evidence for the prosecution. She was also instrumental in filling the seats in the courtroom, which were empty at the start of the trial due to lack of coverage of the case in the media.

The character of Molly Mullaney was refreshing in the light of the diminishing lack of journalistic integrity in the mainstream press today. While this film was far too gruesome in the details presented visually about the malpractice in Dr. Gosnell's clinic, it highlighted the absolutely essential function of a free and unbiased press in a democratic society. This film has neither a liberal nor conservative bias, and it took some courage and tenacity to see this film through to completion. Everyone associated with this project is to be commended.
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Sensationalized With Some Truth Story
westsideschl25 March 2019
Producers, writers, director took a few facts and fictionalized & sensationalized the rest to sell a movie. What they seem to miss is that poor women, particularly of color, are left with nothing but poverty related options in life. Yes, his behavior was criminally immoral, but would any of this had happened had resources been available?
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Laws and the courts have much to do.
oscar-3514 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer, 2018 *Spoiler/plot- The bio-pic and legal case of urban District attorney who's Philadelphia police detective friend experiences a medical doctor that is turned in for performing abortions after life births by his office staff. After being investigated, he is arrested & tried in a law court. He is found guilty of the charges and sentenced to death. He saves his own life by plea bargaining to life sentence without parole in state prison.

*Special Stars- Dean Cain, Janine Turner.

*Theme- Laws and the courts are the arbitrators of life and death in our society otherwise we have corruption, barbarism and anarchy.

*Trivia/location/goofs- This police/court room drama is based on actual information on Dr. Kermit Gosnell who for decades ran a Philadelphia inner-city abortion clinic. In 2010, Philadelphia Police Detectives Wood and Stark , with DEA and FBI agents, raid the clinic for evidence of illegal prescription drug sales. They are shocked by the clinic's filthy conditions, bags of aborted fetuses in hallways, and fetal body parts stored in a refrigerator. Later, they find out that a pregnant woman died from an abortion on the premises. During the end film credits, photos are displayed showing the real Kermit Gosnell and Karnamaya Mongar, photos taken by law enforcement inside Gosnell's clinic and house, two of the turtles removed from the clinic, and video of Gosnell playing classical music on the piano while the police were searching his house.

*Emotion- A very well produced film about the volatile 'political football' topic of the other aspects of 'pro-choice' that ultimately follows the legal case of a convicted medical doctor.

*Based On- A true news story from years before.
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khunkrumark18 February 2019
Terrible acting, direction and story telling.

A cop wets his prissy knickers when he steps in cat poo, but is nun-plussed when looking at jars of preserved baby parts. The fat bearded cop is the comedy relief but nobody is laughing. The cops fight the FBI for jurisdiction... WOW, that's new!

This slow moving snore-fest should have been left on The Hallmark Channel. The script is almost 100% cliched, infantile nonsense. That this terrible TV movie got any reviews at all is a testiment to what a horrible place we are at in 2019 when it comes to original TV programming.

Drab and boring.
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suprisingly good for such a provocative topic
natcalgary4 February 2019
I am glad there was no real propoganda for either side of the abortion arguement. Just facts. It made for a great movie.

On a side note the picture of baby A was down right disturbing. It looked like kid.

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powerful truth being silenced by the left
iamjamalwhite9 November 2018
This movie was the runaway hit of the season but you'd never know it. Even though it was filling theaters while THE HATE YOU GIVE has 2 people in that movie house, it quickly got pulled from many screens. It is the story of Gosnell, an abortion doctor who killed women he operated on and children who were delivered crying into the nurse's arms before he cut their necks. It is a serious film, taken from interviews with nurses that were there, from court documents (the case the MSM did not want to cover), and from police records. The fact that PP gets a half-billion in tax-dollars every year when this is the core of their business model just shocks me and most of those who do 10 minutes of research. This is must see stuff!
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Superb Acting All Time Must See Film
frank412225 March 2019
I saw this movie when it first came out and bought it on DVD. This is the story the media wanted to go away but thanks to Andrew Klavan, Ann McElhinney, and Phelim McAleer it's here to stay. If we don't know the history of America's biggest serial killer, we're doomed to repeat it. I actually knew one of the people mentioned in the film so I know first hand that this is based on fact. Dean Cain gave a powerful performance as Detective James Wood as did his partner Alfonzo Rachel. Janine Turner as Dr. North provided compelling testimony. The performance of Earl Billings as Kermit Gosnell was riveting and the solid direction and acting of Nick Searcy pull this movie together masterfully. Thank you so much to all involved in this masterful production.
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Very good film on a very difficult subject.
apjc22 January 2019
First off I'm from the UK and this issue isn't as divisive here. The film did seem to lean to the pro life agenda slightly but not enough to discredit it's main theme. Biggest serial killers have always been medical professionals, they do get a tendency to play God. The film is well crafted and acted, would recommend to all no matter their side of the argument.
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andymaranam25 January 2019
Initially here we go again, another serial killer movie slasher blah blah but no! Although due to the nature of the film there are parts that lack originality with an almost gacy type feel to how gosnell was portrayed. Yet, It is actually a very unique film that manages to cover various peoples lives & interactions whilst giving a compelling law angle which is done very well & a good! Cast that show their worth..all in all a very convincing thriller based on a true story & well worth a watch
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MUST SEE! Moving Portrayal! The most important movie of our time
hines-200020 October 2018
Superb acting, directing and a gripping storyline in a film taken from actual witness and trial transcripts. Janine Turner gave an outstanding performance as a doctor explaining abortion procedures. Dean Cain and Alfonzo Rachel did an extraordinary job as police investigators. I've been following Zo for years and I didn't know he was a great actor also. Sarah Jane Morris gave a riveting performance as the prosecuting attorney and Earl Billings as Gosnell was outstanding. However, the main focus is on the stories, personalities, and trauma of the women who were patients and employees. This made the movie totally absorbing from the beginning to the end. I just saw this movie play to a packed house and everyone stayed seated through the final credits and epilogue. The worst details are told rather than shown, so most family members would be able to view this.
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How do you tell a story too shocking to be true?
Chrissie14 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I remember waching "Amadeus" and thinking that they must have made Mozart more over-the-top than he really was in order for modern audiences to be as shocked by his behavior as his contemporaries would have been. Then I learned more about Mozart and found out that he'd actually been toned down for the movie. The real Mozart wasn't content to just blatantly fart on people at parties; he'd climb onto the table and defecate among the dishes.

In the same vein, "Gosnell" seems too over-the-top to be true, but only scratches the surface of how horrible the reality was. As somebody who has done abortion malpractice research for over 30 years, and who delved deeply into the Gosnell case, I know how sordid reality is and have a hard time judging the film fairly as a result.

As I watched it I became impatient with scenes showing Woody and Lexi having lives beyond the investigation and trial because it ate up time that could have been spent revealing things that were left undisclosed. I tell myself to trust the filmmakers to have made choices about how much people would be able to believe, how much of this unpalatable reality a mainstream audience could be expected to swallow and digest.

Gosell's own defense attorney being the one to drag out of the expert witness exactly how horrifying legitimate abortion practice is probably struck most people as gratuitious prolife grandstanding. But it really happened. Perhaps a scene showing Gosnell's defense team making the decision to draw this out of the witness would have made this clearer and thus made the reality more believable.

Gosnell's ties to legitimate abortion practice were completely ignored. One of the women whose baby's feet ended up in a jar had been referred to Gosnell by a highly reputable National Abortion Federation clinic. The mother of Baby Boy A had sought out care at another highly reputable National Abortion Federation clinic where, it turns out, Gosnell worked one day a week, starting his illegal third-trimester abortions on-site before finishing them on his own premises. A NAF inspector saw how appalling Gosnell's clinic was and contented herself with denying him membership; she did nothing to stop the referrals or have Gosnell fired.

The film didn't touch on the reasons that it took so long to get Karnamaya Mongar into the ambulance. It didn't touch on the psychologist who partnered with Gosnell for the "Mothers' Day Massacre." It breezed past the horriffic death of Semika Shaw. It omitted the degree to which state officials knew how bad Gosnell's clinic was, and the fact that the Grand Jury members wanted charges to be filed against those officials.

My dismay over what was omitted thus leaves me watching Gosnell with a jaded eye. Were the things omitted left out, like Moart's scatological hobbies, because it was just too much to expect the audience to accept? Should Gosnell have been toned down even more to make it more believable, trusting in people to become curious and start Googling the case?

I don't know, just as I don't know why, CSI-style, Gosnell's clinic looked like it was operating in the middle of a blackout or why the props department decided to use obstetric forceps rather than abortion forceps in the courtroom scene. I'll just have to trust that, just as the producers knew how to get the film made and distributed, they knew what they were doing when they made choices every step of the way. And I hope that both prolife and prochoice citizens learn that their pet approaches to protecting women from the Gosnells of the world are not even close to adequate.
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Isn't it great that most clinics and hospitals that perform abortions...
elizrug23 January 2019
...aren't like Gosnell's?

This movie is the best argument for affordable and safe access to abortions if I ever saw one. Women will get abortions, period. It is their choice to do so. Period. No one other than the pregnant woman can make that choice. People may offer opinions, but that's it.

That being said, it would be so much better for all involved, including for society, if women can get those abortions done in safe, sterile and monitored environments. If abortion is made illegal, women will resort to places like Gosnell's, basements, or even try to do them at home. They will travel to get them done. More and more will try to get late term abortions, and more women will die or be maimed.

If the right-to-lifers are up in arms over abortion, then maybe they should focus their time, effort and money on educating men and women about birth control. Remember, it takes a man to impregnate a woman. Some women are in no position to tell a man no, with the extreme being rape cases, and no woman (or girl) should be forced to carry the results of such a traumatic experience around for 9 months.

I am not pro-abortion. I am pro-choice. There is a huge difference, and this movie helps spread the awareness for safe clinics. Gosnell was/is clearly insane. He had some sort of savior complex. He never should have been in the medical field, let alone doing late term abortions. The actor who plays Gosnell does a great job.

The three star rating is because of the highly suggestive and political title, which is completely biased and unnecessary, and that song at the end almost made me take off a couple of stars.
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Powerful and Unexpected
MovieGuyFunTime14 October 2018
I went to see this movie today not really knowing much about the subject. I'm a big fan of the writer of the screen play Andrew Klavan (of the Andrew Klavan Show) and he had promoted the movie on the show so I decided to go check it out.

It was gripping from beginning to end. Based on true events. I had no idea what to expect but it was really one of the most powerful films I have ever seen. I was thinking about it all day after I saw it early in the afternoon. I rarely shed tears at a movie but this one had me nearly openly weeping. All the people around me in the theater were in tears at a certain point in the film. I hadn't cried in the movie theater like this since Million Dollar Baby.

This is one of the most important films to come out in a long time. It is not for the faint-of-heart... though everyone should see it.
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Had no idea..WOW!
v-ley10 July 2019
I had medical issues during this time and didn't pay attention to the news. OMG! This movie is an absolute must see. You'd think it was about the ongoing debate today over the rights of women's bodies but it is so much more than that. It is a true crime drama. It is disgustingly true and actually happened and so much more than what most would think, Please take the time to watch this movie.
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Interesting story buried by the media, making it quite relevant today
yavoyavo19 April 2019
I have to be honest, I didn't remember this case, and it almost seemed too unreal to be true, but it did happen, and as the end credits photo and video show, reality is indeed stranger than fiction. I read into it and it was a clear case where the media buried the story, that's how the bias works, always has. Fake news is nothing new.
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Well done
rupert-ian8 February 2019
Whether you are pro life or pro choice, this man was a monster.

More people need to see this and rethink whether they agree with certain recent law changes and comments by politicians about there being any kind of termination option post-birth.

The movie was well done by any standards and especially considering that it was crowd funded. When enough people care about the lives lost, the truth can come out even if Hollywood wouldn't touch the topic since it might flow against their identity politics.

If you are pro-choice this movie does not try to preach to you, this was a case about horrible treatment and conditions and killing live-birth babies, NOT abortion. So, don't avoid it if you think it's some kind of right wing propaganda piece. I am pro choice, but certainly believe that there must be humane limits to it, and Gosnell was not humane.
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Both sides should applaud this movie
zterrell14 October 2018
This isn't a show promoting or denouncing abortion, so stop posting reviews if you haven't actually seen it. This is a show about a butcher pretending to be a doctor, yet was protected by a society that didn't want to get involved in an abortion debate. After reviewing the case and checking the facts about this man, it is obvious he cared nothing about the health or care of his patients. He had no conscience about using out-of-date medicine - or the use of untrained personnel and unclean surgical instruments - while maintaining a pig-sty environment for his hapless subjects. His being brought to trial was about blatant murders, not about abortions. Both sides of the isle should utter a sigh of relief that justice was served. Being a small budget film, the actors did a good job, but I gave it only an 8 as the script could have been more fleshed out.
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Heartbreaking and stunning portrayal of a holocaust no one talks about
angelabox13 September 2020
Heartbreaking and stunning portrayal of a holocaust no one talks about.

The scene when Gosnell is charged and they're worried about his turtles and the judge scolds the prosecutor for not caring about fragile beings completely floored me. Yes, turtles should be worried about but not full-term babies whose spinal cords are snipped and then are discarded like trash.

Who knows how many Dr. Ben Carsons were murdered by this evil man.

The left and their enablers have created monsters out of doctors, and too many people have looked away.

Watch this movie.
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Not an anti-abortion film.
lomaran-116 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
It is the story of Dr. Gosnell, a killer. Yes, he performed abortions but one needs to look past that. He was 'protected' by the system, because of the services he rendered - so his facility was never checked by the health department - even after a woman died. It was beyond filthy. Well beyond filthy. He used unprofessional help (meaning untrained young women), to administer drugs and anesthesia and ... on several occasions, he killed babies born alive. This man was a monster, who still to this day, doesn't believe he did anything wrong. He was NOT helping women. He was making (lots of) money.
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True story that nobody knows about.
snootsncoots27 October 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie with a friend tonight, and it was really well done. It isn't about the abortion issue, it is about a true story of how an abortion doctor was able to slide for years with dangerous and unsanitary medical practices in horrible conditions because nobody wanted to follow up on complaints. It's hard to believe these conditions were in the center of Philadelphia less than 10 years ago.

The murder of babies born alive came about also because of his negligence. He let unlicensed workers give anesthesia and labor inducing drugs, but would arrive so late in the day that babies were already born before he arrived.

There are no graphic images in this movie, so it's safe viewing. The story was written from the grand jury transcripts and the trial. The actors are good, the movie is well done and the story is of course true, which appeals to me.
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Horrific but one-sided rubbish.
RanDizzle119818 April 2019
I found the story very horrific and am disgusted that this was allowed to go on for as many years as it did. The graphic descriptions were enough to make tears come to even the hardest pro-choice advocate's eye. Photos didn't need to be shown and largely were not. I am angered that a blind eye was turned to this simply for religious and political drama.

As a very strong pro choice woman who has never had an abortion I still remain strongly pro choice after watching this film. I truly felt this film was one sides to try and sway pro choice into pro life. I found the film quite bias and made me want to further advocate for pro choice as a result.

The film clearly showed the doctor to be mentally unstable and made it seem like all abortion doctors were heartless murderers. While I can not speak about your American abortion clinics that must be paid for, I can speak of Canadian ones thank (God, Allah, Buda, Isis, Shiva, Cerridwen) we have socialised medicine in my country so the poor 'black' woman get the exact same care as the 'white' women unless you can afford extended coverage which most working class blacks or whites do not have.

I have been inside Canadian abortion clinics and most are hospital run and very clean and sterile. I do not believe all abortion clinics are what was depicted in this film and would have given this a much higher star rating if this was made clear to the viewer.

So while I was moved and sickened by what this doctor did and it hurt my heart deeply to hear of the way he practiced, I have little respect for the filmmakers and their lack of showing the whole picture. Great job showing the one side but lacking in the 'openmindedness' other reviews tell us to watch this film with. As far as I saw it, this was a one sided tale portraying a mental patient performing illegal abortions and torturing or mirdering those he took an oath to protect. Sad really. I believe this film would reach a larger audience if it was open minded itself. Other than that, good film.
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True story, the raw truth
revsolly14 October 2018
Gosnell is the true story of one of the worst abortionists, ever.

Many have stated it wasn't preachy. That is simply because it doesn't need to be. As they say, there are two sides to every story. I would continue that one of those sides is the truth, reality. That is this film.

Abortion is bad enough. This individual went even beyond that. He killed children, even after they were born. He cause the death and injury of many mothers. For years, he did it with impunity. Then, he was discovered.

When we simply tell the truth of what happened, there's no need for embellishment. This film is a prime example of that truism. Whether you're pro-abortion, or pro-life, you will find this film compelling, informative, and a provoke of thought.
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Not for me
brentgray7328 January 2019
Not for me.i couldn't get through the first 10 minutes
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