Hollywood Movie Insights I
Now that the Golden Globes have passed and the Oscars are coming up, we’ll comment on past Hollywood movies from a consistent-life point of view.
The Giver, 2014
This movie is based on a book for young people by Lois Lowry that sold over 10 million copies, so the story has huge appeal.
Prolife commentators note its dystopian world is a controlled one, with infanticide and euthanasia and the euphemism of “release to elsewhere” for executing troublemakers. But consistent-lifers notice another theme: the reason for the colorless controlled world was revulsion against war, a graphic revulsion that the rebellious hero shares.
But he’s startled to realize his world hasn’t abolished murder; only given it another name. People are committing murder without realizing this is what they’re doing, because their deep emotions are blocked, love is regarded as imprecise and problematic, and they’ve lost memories. The Hollywood ending restores their memories and emotions and the gentle execution stops right away; the stopping of ongoing infanticide and euthanasia as well is implied.
Doesn’t this fit the world the oncoming generation has grown up in? Their parental and grandparental generations were full of people active against the American war in Vietnam, but with the left-wing/right-wing dynamic also insisted on abortion as a “right” with infanticide possible on the reasoning’s slippery slope. Working against one kind of killing and then promoting another, these were people who rebelled against war but then forgot what murder is.
The ending where the characters are reminded what murder is would make this a therapeutic story for young people, helping to account for its popularity.
The Whistleblower, 2010
This is not a movie to see for entertainment. The graphic images are truly disturbing, because this is based on the true story of sexual trafficking in post-war Bosnia. Rachel Weisz (pictured) plays the title character, investigating the corruption and shocking brutality of this modern-day slavery.
The connection of war to sex trafficking, while not stated explicitly, is portrayed so obviously that it serves as public education about how this effect of war works in real life.
Abortion is not portrayed at all, but watching the vicious behavior of the traffickers who “own” the women leaves no doubt that if any of them get pregnant from the activities they’re forced to do, the traffickers would think nothing of forcing abortions to make the women re-usable.
This movie helps in understanding one of the vicious connections between war and abortion: war causes sexual slavery and that causes forced abortions. All three practices are intolerable each by themselves, but here we see once again how violence is connected to more violence.
Ides of March, 2011
This Hollywood movie is a biting satire on hypocrisy in presidential campaigns; the discerning viewer can see the road to lethal results when the candidate gets power.
Here direct lethal results come earlier, during the candidacy: in the presence of the normal “women’s-right-to-choose” rhetoric, in painful contrast to that rhetoric, powerful men manipulate a young woman into pregnancy and then abortion. Pictured is a scene in which a campaign staffer insists on abortion as a cover-up and drives the mother to the clinic. In his view, she has no say.
With the candidate being the father, it could be foreseen the baby would be doomed unless the mother rebels. In this case, after the abortion she commits suicide, which becomes an occasion for yet more power games.
Despite the movie featuring many actors and real-life pundits known to take the “pro-choice” position, the dynamics of abortion as violence connected to a sea of violence are clearly portrayed.
For a short list of movies intentionally about nonviolence, see a past holiday issue of our weekly updates, Peace & Life Connections. Our Advisory Board member John Whitehead has written an article on movies with anti-war themes in Peacemaking for Life.
Other movies covered in our blog posts:
Hollywood Movie Insights II (Never Look Away, The Report, and Dark Waters)
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