The wonder of life is imprinted on every person.
Even the most hardened ideologue responds to a baby’s laugh, and feels the pull to stand up for the most vulnerable lives.
Ergo, many films can aid parents hoping to nurture a love of defending life in their children. Note that a few of the titles listed toward the end are intended for teens and up.
Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who! (G, Starz / Prime Video rental)
A quick-witted adaptation of a beloved hand-drawn children’s book, Horton Hears A Who! keeps the gags coming as it carries vital themes about the value of lives no bigger than a speck. Despite the purported pro-choice views of the author, the story’s message rings true.
Running for Grace (PG, Prime Video)
In Hawaii during the 1920’s, an orphaned teenager of mixed ethnicity (half-white, half-Japanese) was legally not allowed to be adopted. But he could run, working for a new physician (Matt Dillon) to deliver medicine to coffee pickers in the fields. When a villainous big-city doctor (Jim Caviezel) enters the picture, the story reveals how discrimination undermines the defense of life.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green (PG, Disney Plus)
Years into an infertility journey together, a couple writes down all their dreams for a child–then, resigned to dashed hopes, they bury that list in their front garden. But then, a boy walks into their home that evening, claiming to be their son –- and fitting the bill. Heartwarming though a bit surface-level in addressing complex issues, stellar lead performances from Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton make this Disney fantasy worth watching.
It’s A Wonderful Life (G, Prime Video)
The timeless classic is more than just a great Christmas movie. After George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) has grown weary of doing good, an angel named Clarence reveals an alternate reality showing the effects his life choices have had on family and friends.
It’s a formula since repeated on countless TV shows–and for the better, reminding us what a difference one person makes.
Instant Family (PG-13 for language/humor, Paramount Plus)
A family comedy crafted with help from adoption experts, Mark Wahlberg (Father Stu) and Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids) star as hilariously overwhelmed parents fostering three young charges. Note this flick from director Sean Anders (Daddy’s Home) has some mature humor –- namely, an attempted joke about sexting -– that parents should be aware of.
Also, experts in foster care stress that foster-to-adopt is one of many ways to help kids.
Bella (PG-13 for mature themes and peril, Freevee)
When a reliable female coworker doesn’t show up for work after several days, a chef (Eduardo Verastegui) seeks her out to help — and finds out she’s pregnant.
Taking place over the course of one day, with a few flashback and flash-forward scenes to fill out the narrative, Bella is a beautiful character-driven film that reveals one baby is worth fighting for.
Worth (PG-13 for coarse language, Netflix)
Legal issues become deeply personal when attorney Kenneth Feinberg (Michael Keaton) is appointed by the U.S. government to set a dollar amount for lives lost in the 9/11 catastrophe. But his community meetings in Manhattan with victims’ families descend into chaos, as those of lower income speak up for their loved ones.
Worth celebrates the sacrifices of first responders -– and the imprint of eternal value on every human life.
Bonus: Babies (TV-14 for frank discussion of medical topics, Netflix)
From the first cries and coos, to their daily discoveries of new sensations, this docuseries provides a remarkable window into the first year of life. It follows 15 babies around the world, whose brain waves and reactions give new insights into the miracle of every life.
Image: Adobe Stock
Josh M. Shepherd covers culture, faith and public-policy issues for various media outlets. He and his wife are raising two children in Northern Virginia.