A couple of entries below, there was a discussion of abortion and film, centering around the movie Bella, which I haven’t yet seen. I finally got around to seeing Knocked Up this weekend, which isn’t an abortion movie, as much as it is a baby movie –as in “why not have a baby, if you’re already pregnant” movie.
For those of you who haven’t seen it, the plot is this: a beautiful career girl gets a promotion at E entertainment television, goes out clubbing with her sister to celebrate, ends up having a one night stand with a scruffy, puffy, stoner slacker dude, gets pregnant, decides to keep the baby (actually, barely considers the other options). He slowly looks up from his bong and decides to do the right thing. Hilarity, especially of the gross and scatological sort, abounds. The baby is born. Everyone is happy. The end.
There has been some discussion on the blogosphere of whether Knocked Up was a prolife movie or not. In one sense, it clearly was–the unborn life is presented as a baby. At the same time, the broader values aren’t those that one normally associates with prolife and pro-family activists. Kathryn Jean Lopez’s review of the movie nicely captures the problems from this point of view, I think.
Here is what I think the tension is: the movie reveals that traditional pro-life activists and pro-choice activists actually have more in common than they realize. More specifically, both have pretty clear ideas about how one should plan one’s life. There is a set order for each, although not the same order. And the key thing is to follow the plan.
What this movie does is call into question the notion of a planned life. Babies can and should be taken care of; they’re wonderful surprises. The key is to live with a certain ironic distance from the plan. The slacker’s values-a lack of ambition, an easy-going flexibility–actually helped him accommodate the unexpected turns his life took because of an unplanned pregnancy. It’s hard not to imagine that the ambitious guy–23 years old, first year in a top law school, on his way to law review, and a clerkship, and a respectable job–would have had been less willing to change plans to take care of the baby.