By: Maria McCann, NCLN Intern
Though summer is fast coming to a close, we students still have some long lazy days left with no schoolwork to take up our evenings! Why not spend that free time having a pro-life movie night with your friends? We asked our staff to suggest their favourite pro-life movies, and we got everything from a 1960’s drama to an animated comedy. Although some of these movies may not seem “pro-life” in the traditional vein of Bella or October Baby, they all proclaim the value of human life and the importance of fighting injustice. Enjoy watching one of these movies on a summer evening, and keep them in mind for a club social during the school year!
Michelle’s Pick: Horton Hears A Who (2008)
The children’s comedy Horton Hears a Who is an animated adaptation of the beloved Dr. Seuss story. Horton the elephant is amazed to discover the microscopic town of Whoville living on a speck. However, the rest of his community refuses to believe that the Whos exist, and Horton must protect Whoville from the wrath of his neighbours.
Michelle Caluag: “Not only funny and entertaining, this movie also presents a very basic but crucial pro-life message (though not intended) to everyone: ‘A person is a person no matter how small.’ Horton shows us that every life deserves to be protected and cared for. He stands up against the antagonists to protect the people of Whoville, showing us that every life is valuable and worth fighting for.”
Kathleen and Christine’s Pick: The Giver (2014)
Both Kathleen and Christine praised The Giver for its pro-life themes and for its inspirational protagonist, Jonas. The Giver depicts a seemingly-Utopian community where the citizens have traded emotions, memory and family for stability. However, dark secrets lurk behind the community’s idyllic facade. When Jonas is chosen to become the town’s new “Receiver of Memory” and becomes capable of emotion, he discovers these secrets and wrestles with how to respond.
Kathleen LeBlanc: “Watching The Giver was very powerful for me. I was surprised to see a mainstream movie portray the fight for life in a culture of death so accurately. I felt such a connection to the main character, Jonas, who finds himself in a culture that is blind to the preciousness of human life. He takes such great risks to protect the life of another, and acts with such urgency and confidence, even though he is alone in the fight. The Giver was such a strong reminder to me of how we must respond to the culture of death that we are living in: with determination and with haste.”
Christine Helferty: “The Giver is one of my favourite movies with a pro-life message because it beautifully demonstrates three truths. Firstly, it shows that great injustices can be very widely accepted practices hidden behind deceiving language. Secondly, it clearly portrays the horrors of injustice and the beauties and joys of life and love. Finally, and most importantly, this movie demonstrates the indispensable importance of each individual. Our role in ending the injustices of our time is no less important than Jonas’s role in ending the injustice of his time.”
Maria’s Pick: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Maria: “A film-adaptation of a book does not usually do justice to its source. To Kill A Mockingbird is the exception. This movie depicts Harper Lee’s classic novel, in which ‘Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice’ (IMDb). It is also a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Scout, Atticus’ young daughter.
This movie inspires because it shows the importance of speaking the truth and standing up for human beings who are being dehumanized. Atticus Finch, in particular, gives a moving example of justice and love in the face of bigotry and hatred. Gregory Peck, who won an Oscar for playing Atticus, has become the voice of my conscience: ‘In the name of God, do your duty’. I’m not the only one who was inspired by the character: the American Film Institute voted Peck’s portrayal of Atticus as the Number 1 Screen Hero of the last 100 years.”
Anastasia’s Pick: Les Intouchables (2011)
Anastasia Pearse: “The French movie Les Intouchables does a beautiful job of narrating the true story of a paraplegic man, Philippe, who hires and befriends an ex-convict, Driss. This unlikely duo prove to be a perfect match who bring joy, laughter, and meaning into each other’s lives. It affirms the necessity of looking past other’s apparent disabilities, making the best of our current situations, and being open and vulnerable enough to realize that each of us needs to rely on others. As Philippe says in the movie, ‘Don’t wait for things to get easier, simpler, better. Life will always be complicated. Learn to be happy right now. Otherwise, you’ll run out of time.’
Philippe is further quoted in the movie as saying ‘It doesn’t matter who you are on the outside, the main thing is who you are on the inside.’ From my experience, this is a statement that the majority of people in our society would agree with! However, so many of our actions run counter to this, specifically in regards to the current euthanasia issue. It’s sad that our society is not aware of this incongruency – that our advocating for euthanasia is emphasizing that we are placing our value as humans on external more than internal qualities. This well acted and entertaining movie certainly puts a face to this issue and shows that we find joy when we connect with and support others from the inside out.”
Clarissa’s Pick: The Island (2005)
In the sci-fi thriller The Island, the protagonist Lincoln and other residents live in an isolated, rigidly governed compound. They believe that the outside world is too contaminated to sustain human life. Their only hope of escape is to win a weekly lottery that will let them go to “the island”, the last remaining paradise. However, Lincoln soon learns the horrible truth that he and his friends are clones, created for organ harvesting and other uses.
Clarissa Canaria: “This movie – perhaps without meaning to – shows the true destruction of embryonic stem cell research. An issue that oftentimes falls off the radar of even the keenest of pro-life activists, it is good to be aware of the sad inclinations of our society to treat human beings at their earliest beginnings as a commodity. It is powerful in depicting the wrongness of this use, and it is a great reminder to us all of everyone’s inherent dignity and value. If you’re into dystopian thrillers in general, that’s an added bonus!”
Chad’s Pick: Zathura (2005)
In this spiritual sequel to 1995’s Jumanji, two squabbling brothers, Danny and Walter, find a mysterious board game in their basement and begin playing it. They soon realize that the game affects reality: their home has been transported to outer space, and they must contend with the hazards of space, aliens, and a robot gone amok. Joined by their sister and an astronaut, Danny and Walter must get over their differences and learn to work together, if they are ever to reach Zathura and return home.
Chad Hagel: “While Zathura is particularly notable in encouraging the spirit of cooperation, somewhat less visible is its encouragement of the central pro-life tenet: every human being has value and can contribute in some way to the greater whole, by virtue of being human. At the beginning of the movie, Walter is particularly hostile towards Danny: he belittles him, and doesn’t show particular regard for Danny’s feelings. As the movie wears on, Walter begins to care for his brother, and even goes out of his way to save him at the film’s climax. Just as Walter grows to become a brother to Danny, so to does this film encourage us to become better humans, respecting other humans for their humanity and inherent value to our society. If you loved Jumanji, appreciate good acting by Kirsten Stewart or love science fiction in general, I would highly encourage you to sink your teeth into this film!”
Josh’s Pick: Sophie Scholl – The Final Days (2005)
This historical drama retells onscreen the story of Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, an anti-Nazi student group based in Munich, Germany during the Second World War. Persecuted for their beliefs and bold tactics, Sophie and her friends refuse to give in to pressure and compromise their beliefs. For that, they pay the ultimate price.
Josh MacMillan: “Sometimes pursuing truth comes at a price. For Sophie Scholl and the members of the White Rose, that meant exposing the lies and censorship of the Nazis at their university, despite the consequences. On our campuses, we are called to do exactly the same thing for the vulnerable. We know the lies that our culture is spinning to dehumanize the weak, and must respond in whatever way we can to proclaim the rights of every human being. While there may also be a price for us, the example of the students in this film should spur us to take courage and boldly stand up for what we know to be true, good, and beautiful.”
Joanna’s Pick: Les Miserables (2012)
Joanna Krawczynski: “First, I have to challenge you – take time to read the book. We read an abridged version in French class, and I keep this close for inspiration. Also, having the context provided by the book fleshes out the story, as the rich background plot is not always given in the movie.
What sticks out to me about this film: how characters illustrate what real relationship should look like, that is, laying down your life for the good of another. Also, the prominent theme of mercy hits home for me, how difficult but desperately needed it is to give and to receive mercy.
This film also brings home some very sad history. The film is at times hard to watch, depicting the dangers of dehumanization and the resulting violence and exploitation. However, the film also depicts how vital and truly beautiful it is to choose life instead of death, love instead of hatred, forgiveness over bitterness. The world of Les Miz is one that is dark and shattered, yet love remains not only possible but imperative. This world and mission sound familiar to anyone?”
We hope we’ve given you some inspiration for your next movie night! Comment to let us know your thoughts on these movies, or let us know if we missed any hidden gems!