Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, Is Worth a 134-Mile Drive

11/1/18, by Cathy Lynn Bryant,

Movie Review: Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer

I had mixed emotions about seeing the movie, as I wasn’t certain my heart could take it. Before very long, I came to the realization that I needed to endure watching it for the sake of the mothers and babies who suffered at the hands of Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

The next hurdle for me in seeing this movie came when I found out it was showing in only one theater in Maine, which was in Westbrook — one hundred thirty-four miles away. I messaged the lone theater showing the film to thank them and alert them to the fact that they were literally the only show in town, or should I say in the entire state. Someone from the theater kindly messaged me back, offering the link for times and dates for the movie. Within a few minutes, I had printed tickets in hand.

Now the only remaining obstacle was to break it to my husband that I wanted to travel one hundred thirty-four miles to see a movie.  

The movie is based on The New York Times best seller, Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer, authored by husband and wife teamNYT best-selling author, journalist, film producer, and director Ann McElhinney and producer, investigative journalist, and playwright Phelim McAleer. McElhinney and McAleer along with Magdalena Segieda and John Sullivan produced the movie. Actor Nick Searcy was the director for the project. To date, Searcy has been in five Oscar nominated films. Funding for the movie came through a very successful crowdfunding campaign held on the website, Indiegogo.

The details of Gosnell’s horrific crimes surfaced when his clinic came under investigation for illegal prescription drug sales. During a visit to the clinic, detectives James “Woody” Wood and his partner Stark, played by Dean Cain and AlonZo Rachel, were utterly shocked by what they found, which was the catalyst for a new investigation unrelated to drugs. I will say the production handled this as inoffensively as possible while still allowing enough detail to understand what the detectives had uncovered.

Sarah Jane Morris — who played Assistant District Attorney Alexis McGuire — illustrated well the emotions one would feel in learning the details of Dr. Gosnell’s crimes. I am not easily brought to tears, but Sarah’s portrayal of McGuire’s raw emotion had me sobbing more than once.

Earl Billings, who played Dr. Gosnell, also has a talent for connecting viewers with their feelings. For me, the sentiments he stirred were mostly that I wouldn’t want to be within six feet of the guy, his house, or his clinic.  Oh that’s right; Mr. Billings isn’t the real killer. By the end of the movie, you’ll be fooled, too.

Gosnell’s defense attorney Mike Cohan, played by Nick Searcy, during the trial portion, questioned another abortion provider, performed by Janine Turner, as a witness. Let’s just say that after seeing that scene, your stance on the issue of abortion will likely either be challenged or confirmed.

A couple of other notables heavily involved with the project were screenplay writer Andrew Klavan and Michael Beach who did a fantastic job as Dan Molinari in the film.

When blogger Molly Mullaney, played by Cyrina Fiallo, comes on the scene, the viewer isn’t certain which side she is on, as she has a bit of a mysterious air about her. As the movie progresses, we find that she plays a crucial role in the trial of Dr. Gosnell.

The Gosnell story covers a very difficult and sensitive subject, but the writers and production team did a marvelous job of allowing the facts to tell the story. In particular, the trial — based on actual transcripts — permitted viewers to understand why Dr. Gosnell’s case was so shocking: born alive babies being murdered, mothers subjected to filthy conditions and unqualified staff, even a mother who had changed her mind forced to continue with the abortion.

Although we had to travel some distance, the movie was well worth it. The theaters forgoing the opportunity to show this movie are really missing out.

If after watching the movie you are feeling moved to help mothers caught in desperate situations, please consider supporting The Shepherd’s Godparent Home or others like it. The home is a no cost residential shelter for young women who are pregnant and in crisis. Nikki’s Hope is their parenting transition apartment.

For more information on the Gosnell movie, click here.


About the Author:

Cathy Lynn Bryant is a Maine author. Alongside her daughter, the duo writes compelling Christian novels mixing historical and fictional characters, You can find out more about the mother/daughter writing team’s works by clicking here.