Posted by: Ken Brown | February 16, 2008

Knocked Up and Juno, “Pro-Life” or Pro-Family?

Carmen has an interesting post on Knocked Up and the other “pro-life” movies that have come out lately, over at In the Open Space. I hope she is right that they indicate a growing feeling that we as a culture have treated life too cheaply. I do think this is true in some ways – just consider the widespread concern over the death-toll in Iraq – but we still have a long way to go.

Of the movies she mentions, I’ve only seen Knocked Up and Juno, and while I can’t really recommend the first one (it is extremely crude), it does make some good points about the pain and beauty of childbirth, the value of love, and the importance of growing up. Best of all, it is marketed to the very people who need to be reminded of those things (see my review here). Juno is also a bit crude at times, but nothing like Knocked Up, and I would heartily recommend it. It is quirky and fun, and not only presents a good story about growing up and learning to love, but it also leaves you pondering the decisions the characters made. Not too many comedies manage to leave you thinking afterwards, and Juno succeeds admirably.

I think both movies could teach the pro-life community something, as well. Though both films are decidedly “pro-life” in the sense that abortion is rejected, I think their popularity even outside pro-life circles lies precisely in the fact that they are not focused on getting that message across. Knocked Up barely even considers abortion; the woman simply chooses to have her baby, and though Juno does make that decision more explicite, it doesn’t dwell on it. In other words, both films are more concerned with telling a story than with pushing an agenda, which is why they work.

That much is obvious, but I think there is another reason these films have done better than others: They are more concerned with showing the value of love and family in a broken world than they are with criticizing abortion. People don’t want to be lectured about how evil abortion is, but they are open to seeing how a child can foster love and bring people together, even when the circunstances are not ideal. In their own ways, both Knocked Up and Juno accomplish that very well, and those who would like to see the prevalence of abortion diminish would do well to follow their example.

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Responses

  1. “Though both films are decidedly “pro-life” in the sense that abortion is rejected, I think their popularity even outside pro-life circles lies precisely in the fact that they are not focused on getting that message across . . . .both films are more concerned with telling a story than with pushing an agenda, which is why they work.”

    I love this! Films that are more concerned with telling stories than an agenda speak and resonate far deeper. This is one of my biggest beefs with the Christian movie industry (though it happens in the secular arena as well, ie, I thought “Spiderman 3” was so heavy on the message that it lost the story).

    “I think both movies could teach the pro-life community something . . . . They are more concerned with showing the value of love and family in a broken world than they are with criticizing abortion.”

    I really like this too. It nails how we as followers of Jesus should be approaching a lot of issues in our culture.

    Good stuff!!

  2. Thanks, and I completely agree about Spiderman 3. Ugh, what a disappointment that was.


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