This past summer everyone was buzzing about three big movies: Sound of Freedom, Oppenheimer, and Barbie. The interest and talk around these is a statement in its own right about how we view life and its meaning.
Sound of Freedom caught everyone off guard because all of a sudden, we realized through this story of two children, just how horrid the world can be and how we turn a blind eye to innocent lives being destroyed and violated through sex trafficking of children. Not a regular kind of action-packed hero movie, this hero movie went deep into our souls and whole audiences held back the tears and said, he’s right, God’s children are not for sale. Released back in July, they still keep coming to see this movie. The actor, Jim Caviezel challenged us at the end: What are we collectively going to do about protecting Life?
Oppenheimer is the story of how the USA created the atomic bomb and its aftermath. Those who went in looking for a big boom movie were certainly disappointed because this was more about Robert Oppenheimer the man, who by all standards is an amoral person. He lives only for himself in his bubble of intelligence and arrogance, he lures another man’s wife away, he has a mistress, and belittles other “less intelligent” people. Not a nice guy. But all of a sudden, he has qualms about what he has done. His conscience is biting him. For him to run roughshod over one person is one thing, but the magnitude of what he facilitated by creating these bombs is a major conflict for him. In all his intelligence he cannot resolve the deed he has done. He bears the shame of guilt. He needs a saviour. That is certainly a surprise for someone who apparently has never even formed a conscience. The most hopeful aspect here is that anyone can awaken out of their deadened conscience. There is hope for our generation too.
And, we have Barbie. Barbie’s beautiful pink world comes crashing down because Barbie, all of a sudden discovers her soul. “Do you ever think about death?” she blurts out. Does how we live have meaning? What is the best way to live? “Weird Barbie” offers her a chance to “fix the distortion in their world” by choosing. You can have the high heels (symbolic of everything Barbie) or a pair of Birkenstocks (real harsh world). Barbie wants to run away from such a decision, but she cannot because it is freely admitted she really has no choice at all. Just one offer – the one “Weird Barbie” wants her to take. Is this not reminiscent of what “pro-choice” propaganda is? Choice is only so good as long as you choose abortion! This is a massive critique at today’s pro-choice ideology, from a feminist Barbie at that!
It is the last scenes of the movie though that are really powerful. Barbie is once again given a choice, this time a real choice. Her creator tells her she can go back to what she was, or she can face real life: Life with tears and all the emotions. Barbie chooses life, because, as she says, “I want to be more than the thing people imagine. I want to have what I do have meaning!”
Yes meaning! When we choose life we speak volumes on the meaning and dignity of all! The meaning of innocent lives needing protection, the meaning of our actions and how we all affect the world, the meaning of our relationships, friendships, and love. Barbie wants a true life. Oppenheimer realized the truth of his offence against life. Sound of Freedom presented us with truth of value of life and how far we must go to protect it.
All of a sudden the world is talking about the meaning of life. Albeit in an unconventional way, but one must meet the seeker where they are at. This is an opportunity for us. We have the words of life. Do not shy away from engaging in conversation at how all of sudden these three most popular Hollywood blockbuster movies are clandestinely speaking life.
Could this just be the beginning of a tear in the “time-space continuum of our flighty and anti-life world”? Speak life to all at all times and let’s find out.
Pat Wiedemer is the Executive Director of LifeCanada National
Reprinted with permission from the BC Catholic