As far as pro-life movies go, I liked Bella, but I loved Juno. The script was fantastic, the acting was great, and the story was quite uplifting—surprising and moving all at once. The soundtrack was awesome, too. Juno is deservedly generating Oscar buzz and is playing to packed houses even in liberal communities comprised of viewers who, well, aren’t exactly movement right-to-lifers. Most importantly, the film had a strong moral, pro-family, life-affirming message without coming across as preachy, moralistic, or agenda-driven. It was pro-life without even really trying to be.
This year is apparently the year of the pro-pregnancy films. There have been several which feature women who reject abortion and choose life. Many will be surprised that none of these (except Bella) was really made to communicate a pro-life message per se. They were produced by filmmakers who were motivated only by the desire to tell good stories that sell lots of tickets. I’m not so surprised—first because I’ve never thought that most Americans really approved of abortion—even if they fall into the “I’m opposed but. . . .” category.
But second, it’s related to the phenomenon Leon discussed in an earlier post—that in real life we have lots of mixed fruits from mixed trees. If what we say about abortion is true, we should expect that those interested in telling true and beautiful stories and those in our society interested in listening to them will eventually stumble on that fact—even if by accident. Truth has an appeal and an allure all its own. This is how God, the author of all truth, made the world, after all.
Some will find Juno a little too true: The language is occasionally on the coarse side, and the filmmaker doesn’t shrink from the real problems of divorce and teen sex. At the same time, those associated with the Planned Parenthood culture come across as seedy and unsympathetic. And I would expect that we might just see fewer abortions and more adoptions because of this film.