FIRST-PERSON: Life wins in pro-choice Hollywood
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP) -- Have you noticed there are few if any movies concerning an unexpected pregnancy where planned abortion prevails? Why is that? Hollywood is basically pro-choice (interesting euphemism), so why the reluctance from Tinseltown to address unwanted pregnancy with a pro-abortion slant? Well, structurally they can't.
Story-wise, a writer dare not portray his protagonist as someone who commits abortion. The character, no matter the reasoning, will always come across as selfish if she finalizes this procedure. Indeed, it could be considered the ultimate act of selfishness as abortion ultimately has to do with the wellbeing of the mother, not the unborn.
Now, when I lump all of Hollywood into a pro-abortion camp, I'm being somewhat bigoted. I must amend my attitude. Therefore, I write before you, corrected. Not all in the entertainment community are pro-abortion. Their films prove it.
"Gimme Shelter" (PG-13) opens in wide release Friday (Jan. 24). From studio press notes, it concerns a pregnant teenager, Apple, who flees her abusive mother in search of her father, only to be rejected by her dad and forced to survive on the streets until a compassionate stranger offers a hopeful alternative. While her parents are telling Apple to abort the baby, for some unknown reason, the young girl can't bring herself to do it.
In the 2012 "Stories We Tell," a filmmaker films a documentary about her eccentric family. At one point the writer/director is told that her mother had not only considered aborting her, but was en route to the clinic in order to proceed with the termination. Suddenly, she turned to her husband and said, "I can't do this." Years later, the husband says to his moviemaking daughter, "Amazing how close we were to you never existing. Almost enough to make you an anti-abortionist."
The realization that she had been a car drive away from not having been a part of her family's life haunts the production, perhaps negating any debate concerning a woman's rights over those of the unborn.
The same emotion hits us in the gut when we see Gimme Shelter's Apple holding her newborn, a little bundle full of hope and promise. Try to take her baby, and Apple would fight until she couldn't fight anymore.
Last year three releases, "Gravity," "Captain Phillips" and "All is Lost," each significantly dealt with mankind's struggle to survive despite dismal odds. When you view a character battling to stay alive when the odds are overwhelmingly against survival, one must concede to the preciousness of life. Not sure the filmmakers intended to make pro-life statements in these productions, but that's what they did.
Among others from years past, here are four more pro-life films that come to mind.
-- "Waitress": Trapped in a loveless marriage, a pregnant Jenna (Keri Russell) fights off depression by making pies for the restaurant where she waits tables. Though she doesn't want a baby by a man she has come to despise, she realizes that the unborn child has rights and she does everything possible to see that the fetus is getting what it needs to develop correctly. (PG-13)
-- "Juno": A smart teen (Ellen Page) becomes pregnant after her first sexual encounter and decides to have the baby, giving it up to an adoptive couple. Juno's first inclination is to have an abortion – which tells you something about our culture's dominance -- but without the filmmakers attempting a flagrant pro-life statement, the sanctity of unborn life triumphs. (PG-13)
-- "Bella": After losing her job due to morning sickness, a young waitress/mother-to-be is befriended by the restaurant's chef, who quickly becomes a confidante. Winner of several festival awards, this 2006 release is one of the most touching stories of recent memory. It is a film that celebrates the Latino culture, family and the value of a life. (PG-13)
-- "March of the Penguins": In the Antarctic, every March the quest begins for penguins to find the perfect mate and start a family. This courtship begins with a long journey -- a trek that will take hundreds of the tuxedo-suited birds across 70 miles of frozen tundra to where the courtships will begin. It's full of impressive, almost unworldly locations. More importantly, it sends a powerful message concerning the importance of life. Nature is reminding us of the sanctity of life. (G)
I am aware that too often we defenders of the unborn come across as unfeeling or unthinking regarding those who have chosen the procedure. It should be stated that if indeed abortion is a sin, it is one that can be forgiven. The woman who condemns herself for the deed need only ask for God's forgiveness. If she does, she will find it. And one day she will be joyously reunited with her child. Anyone who suggests otherwise is just a stone thrower. And you know what Jesus said about throwing stones.
Should you decide to view any of the aforementioned movies, please read the entire reviews and learn the content that determined the respective ratings at http://www.previewonline.org. In addition to writing for Baptist Press, Phil Boatwright reviews films for www.previewonline.org and is a regular contributor to "The World and Everything In It," a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).