Bella and the Pro-Life Film Trend
In a political act loaded with cultural symbolism, Senator Hillary Clinton endorsed an effort to earmark a million taxpayer dollars for a museum in
The tie-dyed, drug-soaked post-war babies that populated that muddy plain are now approaching Social Security age, and the aging hippies that made their way into the establishment want to imbue the notorious excesses of their youth with respectability. The New York Times said the
I liked that music. I still do. Then as now, I simply ignored the cultural and political messages. Many others didn't.
The bohemian worldview of Woodstock Nation is in some ways dominant, and in some ways passé in our popular culture. Hallucinogenic drugs are no longer the rage, but the “free love” spirit of “if it feels good, do it” still runs strong, especially in our entertainment world. And yet, burbling beneath a noisy culture of sexual excess and self-love, there's a quiet undercurrent in our movies carrying subtle, and even obvious pro-life themes.
Last Christmas, there was Children of Men, a dark science-fiction look into
Six months later, the small movie Waitress followed a lonely waitress with a good-for-nothing husband who decides (against Tinseltown's grain) to keep her baby. Summer brought the big, crude sex comedy Knocked Up, a tale of a beautiful blonde who improbably mates with an overweight schlub, a man the world would say is “not in her league.” But underneath the crudity, another pro-life story emerges: not only does she keep the baby, she tries to build a marriage and family.
Those two movies were close enough together to represent a tiny trend – and film critics denounced it as an affront to their “pro-choice” beliefs. The women chose life, and that was wrong. To them, it smelled of fear and corner-cutting. They noted the word “abortion” wasn't used in the scripts. (But couldn't pro-lifers make the same complaint?)
It showed “the studios' terror at giving offense,” whined The
Apparently not. "I think it's shocking that the subject of abortion as a choice has been so eliminated from the discussion," said one alarmed feminist to The
Now comes the little movie Bella, which won the People's Choice award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Once again, a single waitress finds herself pregnant, feels that abortion is her only way out, until she spends a day with a man who's just lost his soccer-star career. In that one day together, their lives are changed forever, and she decides to carry her baby to term. The word "abortion" is never mentioned in the movie.
Oh, boy. Here we go again. Worse yet for the
Movie critics will probably hate it, since it doesn't even have oodles of sex and profanity in it to keep them entertained. Variety already booed: “Manipulative pic trades in fairy-tale views of
The makers of Bella are different from the average
So what does Main Street think of Bella? Preview audiences repeatedly have given it standing ovations.
L. Brent Bozell III is President of the