We recently received a Christian Bookstore advertisement with their Christmas sale items.
One page was dedicated to new DVDs on sale. A photo of a portion of that featured movie page is below.
I hadn't heard of any of these films before. But I quickly noticed a surprise theme - death of children.
For whatever reason, the death of children film apparently is a formulamatic Christian film device. Whether it's a dramatic moment from which a film maker can portray Christian virtues of grace and forgiveness.
Of these four films, the only one not dealing with the theme of childhood death is The Shunning about a woman in Amish country, but having not seen the film, it's hard to say if there's a subtly of this same theme, as the main character's past includes secretly giving up a child to adoption.
The other three films on the page all begin with unique sentences in the item description drawing out these themes.
The Lamp (2011)
The ads opening sentence description: Suffering from the loss of his only child, Stanley has isolated himself from his friends and his wife Lisa.
The 5th Quarter (2011)
The ads opening sentence description: When 15-year-old Luke is killed in a tragic accident, his close-knit family is devastated.
The Grace Card (2011)
The ads opening sentence description: When Mac McDonald loses his son in an accident, the ensuing 17 years of bitterness and pain erodes his love for his family and leaves him angry with God.
You would have hoped that when laying out this advertisement that the designer (or product marketing teams) would have noticed this trend. But then again, perhaps the trend is not an accident, perhaps this is a topic common amongst the shaping "family-friendly Christian film genre."
It's not just Christian films that explore the concept of the death of children. With the release of Rabbit Hole last year, I did a post of other films that explored the topic of the death of children. Although, I would suspect that these films (which I have not seen) bring a different perspective then their mainstream counterparts.
Further, where the mainstream counterparts often have a critical attraction, they rarely have a high box office appeal, and assuming Christian film makers are going for viewers over critical accolades, you would think that the heavy handed subject matter of the death of children would not be the inspiration for films of hope, victory, and meaning.
I'm not sure these are the films that Christians want, but rather the types of films that Christian film makers and writing, directing and producing.