Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story (1995)

Dana Delany in Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story (1995)

Contraception & the Choice

To all those who say movies are a waste of time I say you've been watching the wrong movies as you find the right ones and you learn a lot. One such movie is "Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story" as before watching it I had never heard of Margaret Sanger but what I watched was an informative and entertaining movie about the women behind planned parenthood and birth control in America. You might think that sounds interesting but be put off by the fact that "Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story" is a made for TV movie but whilst it has certain flaws it also delivers a strong storyline and strong performances which surpass most people's expectations of a TV movie.

During the 1910s Margaret Sanger (Dana Delany - Tombstone) became sickened with what she saw working as a nurse who frequently got called to the tiny homes of the working class where she would discover a woman blooded and often dying through performing a self abortion because the family couldn't afford another mouth to feed. So incensed by this and the law which prevented her from advising women on contraception and birth control that she decided to make a stand. That stand brought her in to direct conflict with Anthony Comstock (Rod Steiger - The Specialist) who's Comstock Law prohibited the printing of information or contraception or the public speaking about such things. Margaret's refusal to be bullied by Comstock leads to her becoming his No. 1 enemy and forcing her to flee to Britain or face 5 years in prison for spreading obscenity.

Rod Steiger in Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story (1995)

So as you can see "Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story" is the story of Margaret Sanger and the trials that she and her family faced in order to make a stand and give women the right to chose when they became pregnant. It is a simple enough story but one full of big impact moments and I suggest you don't want to be eating when the movie starts as that is when it features some of its most powerful and disturbing scenes. And whilst it does have these disturbing moments it is also very educational especially for those who are unaware of either Sanger's name or the issues and laws of the time.

But whilst director Paul Shapiro has delivered a beautiful, soft lit movie, at times a little too soft lit, he never allows it to distract from the story. He also allows the actors to shine and he has two very good performances with Dana Delany doing a fabulous job of portraying Sanger as both a fighter but a woman whose sacrifices made her vulnerable. And then there is Rod Steiger who brings fire and brimstone to the screen as Anthony Comstock a man who comes across as self righteous and vindictive in his attempt to shut Margaret up.

What this all boils down to is that "Choices of the Heart: The Margaret Sanger Story" is a very good movie which manages to not only be educational but also entertaining as well as hard hitting.