Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hollywood becoming more pro-life-- in six movies

From Lynn Vincent in World...

Vincent writes at length about a recent surge of (four) pro-life films in Hollywood. Abortion has never been a popular theme for Hollywood-- itself an interesting observation. But now, they seem to be going from largely neutral to positive.

I first heard about this theoretical possibility about a decade ago-- when Frederica Mathewes-Green wrote about other cultural changes that had been acceptable but were eventually modeled by Hollywood and seen by the general public as unacceptable. (Examples: the guy who was tipsy at work and viewed as cute or humorous; the man who slapped his wife around to keep her in line; smoking.)

I blogged on Bella earlier. Frankly, of this quartet of films, I'm only likely to see Bella and perhaps Juno. But that's what makes this even more noteworthy. Three of the four are not "Christian" or even explicitly pro-life films...

First, a quick overview of the four films...

In the movie Knocked Up, blond-and-beautiful television producer Alison is tapped for her on-air dream job, but while celebrating she gets pregnant during a one-night stand. She decides not only to keep the baby but also to build a relationship with the father.

In Bella, a soccer star's life is upended when he kills a young girl in a traffic accident. Realizing a new reverence for life, he convinces a friend to carry her unplanned pregnancy to term.

In Noelle, a priest whose job is to shut down ailing parishes encourages an unmarried woman to keep her baby, the fruit of a liaison with the arrogant heir of a wealthy family.

In the comedy Juno, the title character, a pregnant teenager, decides to carry to term and place her child for adoption—because a pro-life teen picketing the abortion clinic where Juno had gone to terminate her pregnancy points out that Juno's baby already has fingernails. The film is nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Has Hollywood tilted off its reliably pro-abortion axis? With the 2007 debut of these films, has the American abortion debate finally reached a tipping point, where more art now imitates pro-life?...

Then, a key observation:

Hollywood has awakened to this fact: Abortion is not only unarguably un-sexy, but also un-heroic. And without sex and heroes, Hollywood would have few bankable stories to tell.

An ironic catalyst?

Steve McEveety half-jokes that Hollywood's slow shift toward life is all Quentin Tarantino's fault.

In Kill Bill: Vol. 2, Tarantino's 2004 installment in a two-part bloodbath, two female assassins wind up stalking each other. "There's this scene where one of the hit women just found out she's pregnant," McEveety said. "The other hit woman . . . decides not to kill her because she would be killing two people. Nobody got it except for the young kids who saw the film. That's the next generation of filmmakers."

Those would-be filmmakers—and many already making movies—are influenced heavily by ultrasound technology, said McEveety, a Roman Catholic who is very vocal about his own pro-life views: "You can go on the internet now and find video of a 24-day-old baby and see the heart beating. Technology is catching up to the lies. You can't dispute the images."

Likewise, in Touchstone, Joan Frawley Desmond also writes about four pro-life films. (She drops Juno and Noelle and picks up Waitress and The Children of Men.) Her conclusion:

It's striking that in all these well-regarded films, the female protagonists choose the good of saving unborn life amid the ruins of a broken marriage, a dysfunctional family, and a decadent culture-- the social environment typically used to justify the "lesser evil" of abortion. Instead, one might conclude, the overarching them is "no excuses".


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