Only four doctors in the United States now offer the procedures; the filmmakers explore how these providers “risk their lives every day in the name of their unwavering commitment toward their patients.”
Reviewing it for The New York Times, film critic A.O. Scott, referencing a scene in which a young, pro-life woman’s request for abortion is discussed, calls it “one of the most illuminating discussions I have seen about the complicated reality of abortion.”
Documentaries can rarely be judged as works of dispassionate, neutral reporting since few of them aspire to uphold those journalistic criteria. Rather, a documentary should be assessed as a representation of the world as it is, from a perspective that is itself part of that world. “After Tiller” is impressive because it honestly presents the views of supporters of legal abortion, and is thus a valuable contribution to a public argument that is unlikely to end anytime soon.
New York Times editorial page editor Dorothy Samuels praises the film for taking “a complicated subject beyond the familiar muck of abstract and often ill-informed talking points to deliver a frank portrayal of the real life situations of the physicians and their desperate patients.”
Similarly, Jason Bailey, writing in The Atlantic, calls it “a rare consideration of the abortion debate that moves past labels and abstracts and takes a long look at the people involved. It is a showcase for empathy, a quality lacking in many conversations on the subject.”
The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is starting to open around the country. Scheduled screenings are listed online. Not playing near you? You can request a screening to bring “After Tiller” to your town. You can also follow @AfterTiller on Twitter, and like the documentary’s page on Facebook.
Want to learn more? Head over to PBS, where Tom Roston talks with “After Tiller” filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson on the Doc Soup blog.