Road trip films are typically the genre filled with nostalgia and chaos with a lot of high stakes. Typically there are messages of friendship or family, but they always have a heartwarming ending. Unpregnant takes the road trip genre idea and flips it on its head. It manages to keep all the fun with a unique, yet important, message.
Packed to the brim with amazing and brilliant acting, clever and heartwarming writing, and a powerful and important message, Unpregnant is an absolute must see.
The film follows Veronica (Haley Lu Richardson), a high school student who, after finding out she’s pregnant, decides to get an abortion. In Missouri, however, it’s impossible to get an abortion if you’re under 18 unless you have parental consent.
When she’s not able to tell her parents, or her best friends, and receives no help from her idiot boyfriend, Veronica turns to her ex-best friend Bailey (Barbie Ferreira) to take her to Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is the nearest clinic that allows young women to get abortions without parental consent. Throughout the 14-plus hour drive, chaos ensues.
Though there are a few supporting cast members throughout the film, it’s Richardson and Ferreira that absolutely steal the show. On the one hand, Richardson is a breath of fresh air when she’s on screen. She brings this all-too-relatable energy of a young girl who is so nervous about fitting in during a social media driven society.
Ferreira, on the other hand, has this almost too-honest energy that she brings to the character. It overcompensates for her character’s shortcomings and insecurities, which is all-too-relatable for many in the audience. Both of the character progressions throughout the film are absolutely breathtaking to watch, and send extremely important messages to young women about subverting what people expect of you and to just be yourself.
Not to mention the all too important message of abortion throughout. Not only is there the religious aspect with Veronica’s parents, but there’s also the conflict of having her boyfriend telling her what to do.
The film consistently emphasizes the idea that abortions should be easily accessible for women everywhere, at any age. It also emphasizes the idea that it’s the woman’s choice, not her parents; not her significant other’s; hers. It is her decision. It’s so important that younger people watch content with that messaging. This is a woman’s choice and she can choose what’s best for her.
This messaging and character progressions wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the fantastic writing, thanks to the novel’s writer Jenni Hendriks, that the film was based on. The screenwriters, Rachel Lee Goldenberg, Bill Parker, Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and Ted Caplan all did a wonderful job of depicting young women, especially going through such a difficult time like Veronica.
It’s always much better to watch films when women are depicted in a real and honest way. Combined with the twists and turns that the film takes throughout the road trip, it’s one of the best scripts surrounding young women that’s been produced in a while.
I could go on for hours about how incredible the film is. Not only with just the writing, message and acting, but the production elements like cinematography and costuming are brilliant as well. It’s an all around incredible film that should be on everyone’s must-watch list this year.