Bruce Marchiano has been playing Jesus for a long time - and in more films than anyone else on record. In his latest, Alison’s Choice, Bruce’s Jesus shows up at the abortion clinic and steps into the life of a young teenager scheduled to abort her child at 10:45 a.m. that morning. Taking the appearance of a janitor, Jesus tells Alison that each unborn child matters to him.
The majority of the film takes place inside the waiting room of the clinic, building a certain amount of dread as the occupants of the room are called back to abort their child. Alison’s conversations with Jesus provide the bulk of the dialogue, but others pass through, notably, Alicia Monet Caldwell’s Lecretia. While Alison initially shows up at the clinic under the assumption that she has no choice but to abort, her conversations that morning begin to show her another way.
While Marchiano’s track record shows several films where Jesus shows up, this plays like part-parable, part-real-life encounter-styled film. We think Alison is a desperate, sad girl in need of a savior, but she’s also an “every woman” for the types of situations that women find themselves in leading them to abortion clinics. Where’s her boyfriend and father of the fetus? What role has her family played? Why is she sitting there by herself?
But Alison is not alone. Jesus is there - and Marchiano’s Jesus shows us that each soul, each woman, each fetus, is absolutely of everlasting and deep value to God. This is a movie about the sanctity of life, and the beauty of repentance, played out in the quiet focus on the life of a teenage mother.
In Luke 12, Jesus said, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Jesus said this but too often, things in our lives cloud our understanding of our value to God. We let other people determine our importance, other things push us into tenuous relationships, other moments make us believe lies in place of God’s truth.
Alison’s Choice is about life, and God’s love. Even if you’re not a mother or a woman, it will remind you that you’re a child of God, beautifully and wonderfully made.