Pro-life Cinema?

desk-daybeach_thumb.jpgI recently wrote a commentary piece for Christianity Today on pro-life themes in Hollywood films this year. You can read the article here. A few comments from readers (as emailed in to CT):

“Perhaps the popularity of these life-affirming films indicates a more general cultural longing for life, in the midst of a world that is increasingly cavalier in its cheap treatment of it. It is interesting that these films come at a time when the “death-affirming” exploits of new horror genres are beginning to wear out their welcome.”

Indeed. As “Children of Men” drew to a close in my in-law’s basement and we all sat there, worn out and trying to process what we had just seen, my brother-in-law commented that what increased the impact of the child’s birth was that he’d never seen a film with such a high death count in which every death mattered. From the moment one of Theo’s companions shoots a cop and he (Theo) becomes drawn into a non-stop whirlwind of experiencing death madly and first-hand, the film never lets us forget that each of these lives lost matters. It never lets us forget the tragedy of losing them.

I recently read a commentary by a critic frustrated with the fact that the current crop of summer action films completely ignore the collateral damage involved in the fun – ie. we see cars decimated by the hero-villain chase, but not the injured drivers – and what struck me about his complaint was that it is hardly new. For twenty years, we’ve been seeing this on-screen, and this is the first time I’ve read a full-legnth commentary on it in a mainstream daily paper. Are we sick of “death-affirming” films? Absolutely! Many filmgoers like realism in their films, and it’s refreshing that studios are finally starting to realise that realism doesn’t always equal hopelessness and death.


And here’s another comment:

Enjoyed your article on the positive trends in movies supporting
alternatives to abortion. Perhaps there’s also such a trend with
euthanasia. A recent episode of Kyra Sedgwick’s The Closer showed a euthanizing nursing home manager in a bad light.

“John,” Indianapolis

And one more:

Another movie that we enjoyed was Just Like Heaven. It didn’t deal directly with abortion, but it was about a woman in a coma and they almost pulled the plug. It reminded everyone that there was a real person in that hospital bed. Yes, some parts were corny, but the man really went to great lengths to save this woman’s life. We cried at the ending, it was so touching. This was in theaters in 2003, but it is out on DVD.

“Kris and Amy”

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