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To some, it was a year of war movies and "statement" flicks—including In the Valley of Elah, Lions for Lambs, and Rendition. Meanwhile, David Poland of Movie City News declared 2007 "Oscar's Year of the Man," noting that of the top sixteen contenders for best picture, only three were headlined by women.

But others noticed a different trend: In some ways, 2007 was the Year of Pro-Life Cinema.

From the church-friendly Bella to the raunchy Knocked Up, film after film depicted its main character facing an unplanned pregnancy and opting not for abortion, but for carrying the unborn child to term. Sometimes the mother kept the baby (Knocked Up, Waitress), and sometimes she gave the baby up for adoption (Bella, Juno, August Rush). But in each of these films, the mother, and sometimes the father, made a critical decision that was decidedly "pro-life."

Children of Men kicked off the year with a dystopian sci-fi tale in which Earth's entire population is infertile; no babies have been born in 18 years. Along comes a woman who is, inexplicably, pregnant. Clive Owen plays Theo, a sort of modern-day Joseph who must deliver the woman, and her unborn child, to safe haven. When the baby is born in a war zone, the dazed Theo utters just two words: "Jesus Christ." The Lord's name in vain? Or a nod to a miracle child who holds all hope for humankind's future?

In Waitress, Keri Russell plays Jenna, who ends up with an unwanted pregnancy from her abusive husband. Jenna makes some poor and selfish choices, but saves her most unselfish decision for the life growing inside her: She opts to have the baby, a choice that becomes her saving grace.

Knocked Up is an R-rated comedy that's as crass as it gets, making it the year's most unlikely "pro-life" ...

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Choosing Life at the Movies
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January 2008

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