Directed by Dawn Porter
From 2011 to 2013, hundreds of regulations were passed restricting access to abortion in America. Reproductive rights advocates refer to these as “TRAP” laws, or Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers. TRAP laws have swept across the country, especially the South, where most clinics are in a desperate battle for survival. In the trenches of this war on women’s rights are the doctors, clinic owners, and resolute staff who refuse to give up. Trapped interweaves the personal stories of a fearless physician who crisscrosses the country assuring that medical services are available, the stalwart women and men who run the clinics, the lawyers leading the charge to eradicate these laws, and ultimately to the women they are all determined to help
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★★★★ review by Tyler Jacob on Letterboxd
No experience at SXSW was more satisfying than being in audience that erupted into laughter at a crazy right-wing Christian rant about abortion.
Infuriating, harrowing, emotional and important, Trapped manages to, despite occasional pacing issues, paint a portrait of current America at its most divided that simeltaneously engages and repulses.
★★★½ review by Ray on Letterboxd
Great poster right there, that is.
I've mentioned it a few times but I am perhaps even more inherently skeptical of films wherein I am the choir to which is being preached than not, but this is one of the more successfully vital documentaries tackling an issue I've seen this year. That it's about one of my more personally-invested topics, reproductive rights, makes me wonder if I need to have a closer eye on myself in that regard, but nonetheless it's an interesting thing actually getting a chance to see the entire abortion process in work, and to bristle against the sort of weasely ways the aforementioned rights are being chipped away at.
It's sorta a mix between something like a Wiseman-esque take on the institution where most of this is set and a more traditional documentary, in that way, but I'll say that both elements have their completely necessary dimensions; most of the best parts of the movie come in documenting the actual place itself (seeing the workers grapple with inane demands set by the state, esepcially) rather than a surface overview of the history and current state of legislation (one that can still manage to bite more than it can chew, perhaps), but a Wiseman take on this would never manage to weave in, say, how crucially religious many of these people working here are. It is Alabama, after all. Ultimately, it ends up being something where its well-meaning aligns with an able construction, something not-infrequently hard to come by.
Also, this is one of the documentaries that Kirsten Johnson, director of Cameraperson, shot, and to see the absolutely minuscule kernel here that got blown up into one of the most beautiful scenes in that entire film is not only kinda mindblowing, not only enhances my view of that movie all the more, but adds further fascinating dimensions to it. If you're going to watch Cameraperson, I would highly recommend this to follow it up because you'll know the moment here I'm referencing and less than three seconds later it'll have passed and that's as big a conceptual payoff as any within the film itself.
★★★★ review by ristubasan on Letterboxd
Good overview of TRAP laws, told primarily through the eyes of clinicians working to keep the services available. You have to admire the strength of character of these individuals. There is a note of optimism struck at the end, when there is a partial victory (2016) against Texas' HB2; this was probably premature, in light of where we now are. Netflix cancelling this documentary today means now that many fewer people will get to understand what is really happening. Not available on Amazon Prime either.
★★★★½ review by Ken Rudolph on Letterboxd
This is an awesome and effective documentary that tells the stories of embattled abortion clinics and brave, committed practitioners, mostly in the Southern states of Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. It particularly focuses on a Texas law (HB2) that mandated restrictions designed to close clinics; and the legal struggle to overturn that law. The film ended with a spare, white on black title card reading that the Supreme Court was possibly going to decided on the appeal in June, 2016, which immediately led me to a Google search which brought me to tears (as a 75 year old gay male, no matter how pro-choice I am politically, I must admit to failure to keep up with every struggle.) It's a tribute to the quality of every aspect of this film (cinematography, editing, direction, writing) that I became so involved with the subject (abortion) which has only peripherally affected my life. I would gladly award this film 5-stars; but I can't help feeling that it simply ended too soon...that waiting for the actual SCOTUS decision might have made for a slightly better film. Still, bravo! to all involved, especially those caregivers featured in this film, people fighting in the front line trenches, even at risk to their lives, to protect women's rights to control their own bodies.
★★★★ review by Angela on Letterboxd
Relevant now more than ever
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