We live in a country where genuine debate seems to be dead, and has instead been replaced by polemic, polar opposites that scream at each other. Most documentaries these days are produced to advance an agenda by one side or another, and as a result, sitting in a theater frequently feels just like watching this biased news channel or that one. Not that I think bias is necessarily a bad thing, or even something that can be avoided, as long as it's open and not disguised. A film like "Outrage," for example, is profoundly biased, but it still makes its points in a clear-eyed, well-argued way.
What's truly difficult is to make a film about something as hot-button divisive as abortion and still somehow give both sides of the debate equal time and equal weight. Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, the filmmakers behind the terrifying "Jesus Camp," found the perfect way into the conversation in their new film "12th & Delaware." Even the title of the film serves as a microcosm, since I'd imagine there are thousands of 12th and Delawares in America. In this case, Ewing and Grady went to Fort Pierce, Florida, where they found a remarkable situation that sums up exactly where we are with this dialogue right now. Their approach to the film was to give both sides of the situation half the film to present the case with no editorializing at all, and in doing so, I think they've made a powerful film that is infuriating and heartbreaking.