NOTE: This review was written under a previous rating system. Some of the older reviews may express opinions and judgment calls that are not in line with our current standards.2009
Manny Edwards, George D. Escobar
Advent Film Group Movie One
In the myriad of pro-life films, Come What May stands out as… well, first and foremost, it stands out. Whether by accident or design, the story of Come What May is unlike any other movie in the mini-genre of films that speak out against abortion—perhaps because, in this story, no one wants an abortion. The career-driven female character who needs to readjust her priorities is a married woman with a nineteen-year-old son; the teenage girl in the story is so committed to purity of both body and heart that she’s never been on a date or held a guy’s hand; and the character who, in the end, has to take a step of faith and do the right thing is a young man who’s studying law at Patrick Henry College.
Caleb is caught in the middle—right between a no-absolutes, workaholic mom and a dad who’s struggling to keep their marriage from falling apart—right between taking a compromise to guarantee success, and doing the right thing, come what may. And, with a paid-for college tuition (providing he win the moot court championship) on one side, and a strongly pro-life professor and classmates on the other—and a championship case that will make him either attack or support the validity of the abortion-legalizing Roe v. Wade, looming ahead—being in the middle is fast running out of appeal. And “come what may” is starting to be an easier-said-than-done proposition.
Come What May is one of those movies that has so much going for it, and is so close to being morally flawless, that the little bit of content that makes its way into the review is going to leave a lot of people wondering whether the writer has spent the last twenty years on Mars or among the Amish. The immodesty only gets as bad as a knee-length skirt or a high-necked but somewhat open-backed tank top. The only couple seen kissing is married both on screen and in real life, and when Caleb asks his pretty moot court partner Rachel on a date, she replies with a sweet explanation of how and why she’s saving her heart for her future husband. The most serious objection in Sexual Content? That, after Rachel refuses to go on a date with Caleb precisely because she doesn’t want to give even a little of her heart away until she’s in a deliberate, committed relationship, the movie makes it pretty clear that she still has an affection for Caleb that surpasses the partner/classmate relationship. It’s not that significant on its own, but a lot of girls who are intellectually committed to the idea of saving all of their heart for their future husband, still struggle with the emotional side of that idea, and the appeal of this sweet, only-slightly-more-than-friendly intimacy might make it harder for some viewers to see the line between not giving your heart away at all, prior to commitment, and giving it away very gradually.
There’s a similar difficulty about a few of the lines in the movie: they may be a stumbling block to a small group of viewers—in this case, the small viewers. It may not occur to young children that Caleb’s mom, with her “sliding scale” and no-absolutes, is incorrect, even though that is the way the movie presents her; the same thing with Caleb’s dad, who, in a weak moment, says that, as a college professor, he “can’t” teach the logic that supports a pro-life position. Caleb’s mom belittles Patrick Henry College by pointing to their belief that God made the world in six days—and, again, young children may not understand that we’re not supposed to be on her side. The subject of divorce is briefly brought up in the context of the rift in Caleb’s parents’ relationship, but as the movie progresses, it’s made clear that they do not consider divorce an option.
The college and career setting may need to be taken into consideration by parents who are training their daughters to be keepers at home, and to pursue higher education through other means than the campus experience when possible. Rachel talks about preparing from her childhood to be a good wife, and she has domestic inclinations, while Caleb’s mom, with her emphasis on her career and work relationships, is portrayed negatively. Rachel does, however, live away from her family in order to attend college, and she talks about wanting a career like Caleb’s mom’s (although, from the context, it’s hard for even the grown-ups to be sure whether her desire is supposed to be wise or unwise).
Rachel says that she chose Patrick Henry College because, “the way things worked out in my life, I believe God wanted me here.”
A wine bottle is seen on a table a couple of times.
A defeated Caleb jokingly calls Rachel and his father “You dogs,” and once uses the word “gosh.”
Emotionally Intense Content:
Rachel’s mother is said to have died. The abortion theme is not played up as intense, but it is a major part of the film.
Come What May isn’t a story with dragons for your hero to fight, or with town villains for him to expose. Caleb isn’t even attacking Roe v. Wade in a real case; it’s just moot court—an academic exercise that isn’t going to shake the pro-abortion force at the capitol one bit.
The message of Come What May—again, unlike many films of its kind—is wisely directed toward its audience. It’s not primarily, “Avoid murder, no matter how small the victim,” but “Avoid compromise, no matter how small the global—national—local impact.” Dealing with the abortion issue from a legal and logical angle, rather than an emotional, circumstantial one, Come What May assumes an audience that knows abortion is wrong, but may or may not know why it’s wrong, or why Roe v. Wade was actually an illegal court ruling. It reaches out, not to women who are considering abortion, but to pro-life men and women both, who might be tempted to let federally funded infanticide take second or third priority, for the sake of “guaranteeing” a gradual advance… with a lot of little compromises between now and success.
There are a few weak spots in the filmmaking, and some mediocre acting, putting Come What May maybe a couple of notches below, say, Facing the Giants in the art department; but the story and script are strong, and the weak points aren’t distracting from the flow of the movie.
Come What May is a good message-movie, and it makes its case smoothly and clearly, but it’s also a good drama, a sweet romance, and it’s lighthearted enough to make for a fun family movie. This is a movie that can be recommended for all ages, though some parental guidance may be needed for younger children, to help them understand which parts of the movie represent the antithesis.