Often Christians lament the darkness in the world around us. War, abortion, euthanasia, and murder are regular occurrences even in our own communities. No wondering Saint Pope John Paul II labeled now as “the culture of death” in Evangelium Viate.
Yet, hope remains. Sometimes when we focus so much on the evil, we fail to see the progress being made. God does not leave us abandoned. Despite “the culture of death,” light has been shining down from the One who has everything in his control.
This hope can perhaps be seen most clearly in the changing attitude toward life at conception. Abortions have been decreasing in recent years. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the percentage of abortions in the United States was the lowest it had been since 1973. Another survey by Gallup reported that more Americans were Pro-life than Pro-choice. Obviously something is changing for the better.
Statistics and surveys are not the only indicators of a converted mindset. Numerous recent films have also depicted life as a beautiful treasure, whether dealing with babies, elders, or any human being. This trend gives me great hope because it indicates a shift in the views of prominent producers, directors, actors, and screenwriters. Perhaps they do not even realize this change, but it is certainly affecting their movies.
Here are a few of the best films that have Pro-life messages. Although not all of them are obvious about these themes, these movies show the miraculous nature of each human life that is worth saving and valuing.
The Giver - Newly released, this film takes place in a future land that seems perfect. No violence, hate, differences, envy, or disorder. What could be wrong? However, this thought-provoking movie forces the audience to think about how this would affect those who are unable to contribute to an ideal society – the disabled, rebellious, unique, old, and weak. Both this book and film are a great story with wonderful teaching points and a hopeful ending. Rated: PG-13 for a mature thematic image and some sci-fi/action violence. Trailer: The Giver
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – There are many moments in these epic fantasy films that highlight the importance of life. One of the most poignant is when Gandalf, the wizard, tells Frodo that not killing the treacherous and disgusting creature Gollum was the right choice. He reminds both the hobbit and audience that one cannot see the future, and death as punishment should not be done often. Even the least likely person has worth and might prove a friend. Rated: PG-13 for violence and frightening images. Scene: Gandalf speaking of Gollum and pity
Bella - A young single mother has decided to abort her baby. However, a strange man named Jose convinces her to keep the child. This touching film has been acclaimed by many Pro-lifers. Its strong message and poignant tale proved that there are people fighting for the unborn. Rated: PG-13 for thematic elements and brief disturbing images. Trailer: Bella
August Rush - Two young musicians are separated because of her father but not before she becomes pregnant. Although her father tries to make his daughter believe that her baby died, she longs for her son. The movie centers on the story of the young, musical boy searching for his parents and them looking for him. Deep love between all members of this small family is very evident and beautiful. Rated: PG for some thematic elements, mild violence, and language. Scene: August conducts an orchestra
Harry Potter series – Throughout these books and films, the good characters try not to kill even the worst villains. One example is how Harry treats his house-elf Kreacher. Instead of hurting this cranky and cruel creature, the boy and his friend Hermione try to treat the elf with kindness. In return, Kreacher turns into an ally. Rated: PG or PG-13 for violence and frightening images. Scene: Kreacher brings thief to Harry
Gimme Shelter - A young teenager finds herself pregnant with no one to turn to for help. Running away seems like the only option, but that brings even more danger and questions into her life. Yet, strangers (including a kind-hearted priest) come and surround her to help the girl to give a hope-filled life to her child. Rated: PG-13 for for mature thematic material involving mistreatment, drugs, violence, and language. Trailer: Gimme Shelter
Horton Hears a Who - An animated adaption of these Dr. Seuss book brings the beloved elephant Horton and the tiny people he protects to life. When all the other animals call Horton crazy, he stands by the invisible people of Whoville. One of the most poignant lines is “A person’s a person no matter how small.” Rated: G. Trailer: Horton Hears a Who
Just Like Heaven - A busy doctor ends up in a car accident that puts her in a coma. Yet, the young man who rents her apartment finds her spirit somehow still at home. This strange premise actually turns into a sweet romance with a surprisingly uplifting message about caring for those in a coma and on life support. Rated: PG-13 for suggestive content. Scene: David tries to stop them from pulling life-support
October Baby - Hannah is shocked to find out her freshmen year of college that she was adopted. Not only that, her mother tried to have an abortion. As the movie unwinds, the journey to discover Hannah’s path shows the beauty in each human life. Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic material. Trailer: October Baby
Les Miserable - One of the most beloved musicals of all time, this film shows how even those in the lowest of places (criminals, prostitutes, etc) should be shown love. Everyone can turn around their life for the better. For example, Jean Valjean shows this compassion to Fantine by risking his life for her and her child repeatedly. Rated: PG-13 for suggestive material, violence, and thematic elements. Scene: Jean Valjean saves Fantine
What are some of your favorite movies with Pro-life messages? Please share them in the comments.
Photography: See our Photographers page.