Lifemark Parent Guide
The movie's message overpowers its storyline, which makes for pretty poor entertainment.
Parent Movie Review
Lifemark is a movie with an agenda: to convince viewers of the wonderful, good things that can come from adoption. There’s no denying that adoption has brought joy and fulfillment to countless families, but this production oversimplifies and glorifies the process to the point of phoniness. No matter how worthy the message of a movie, it must be delivered artfully and realistically for it to ring true. Lifemark does neither of those things.
This story centers on a flawless young man named David (Raphael Ruggero) whose life is interrupted when his birth mother Melissa (played as an adult by Dawn Long) sends him a request that they meet. The rest of the film features jumbled and confusing flashbacks of the events leading up to the boy’s adoption, the things David and Melissa went through before meeting, and earnest discussions about adoption.
Unfortunately for the audience, all characters in the movie are very one-dimensional, making it difficult to relate to them or even to care very much about what happens to them. David has an amateur filmmaker friend (Justin Sterner) who tries to document David’s meeting with his birth mother. At one point, he gets very frustrated with David for his barely-discernible reactions to events. In exasperation, he begs “Give me more! Give me some emotion!” The same entreaty could have been made to the entire cast.
You don’t have to be a movie critic to spot the missed opportunities for creating a more dramatic film. The fact that the movie begins with the boy’s eighteenth birthday kind of takes the suspense out of whether the teen mother (Marisa Lynae Hampton) decides to give birth or terminate the pregnancy. Early in the movie, David is in a hospital bed, being told he needs surgery and the very next scene shows him and his parents (Kirk Cameron and Rebecca Rogers) bouncing happily into their house, joking about the funny things he did as he came out of anaesthesia. Something of the surgery itself or the parents’ anxiety during the surgery or of the boy recovering from the operation would not have gone amiss. In what I’m assuming is an attempt to sanitize the birth process itself, the teen mother is shown walking into the hospital by herself with a cute little volleyball-sized bump on her tummy, then the film cuts to her holding her perfectly clean and blanketed baby as she tearfully kisses him goodbye and hands him to a nurse. A little of the realities of being an unwed pregnant teenager or the pain of childbirth would have helped the movie’s credibility and made it more interesting.
The film’s low budget was plain to be seen throughout, occasionally providing comic relief not intended in the script. Some giveaways were inadvertently funny, like when a fisherman pulls an extremely dead fish out of the water and holds it up proudly for everyone to admire.
Lifemark idealizes adoption so much that it’s clearly meant for that purpose. During a post-movie extra, Alex and Stephen Kendrick (the executive producers), Kirk Cameron, Sheri Rigby (talent coach), and Roland Warren (President and CEO of Carenet women’s centres), have a chat which includes the entreaty to “Use this movie as a tool to reach others.” There were some touching moments in Lifemark, like a monologue about adoption given by David during a school speech competition, but they are too few and far between to make this movie ring true. It’s trying to hit the mark, but it never really comes to life.Directed by Kevin Peeples. Starring Isabelle Almoyan, Kirk Cameron, Ezra DuVall. Running time: 120 minutes. Theatrical release September 9, 2022. Updated September 11, 2022
Watch the trailer for Lifemark
Rating & Content Info
Why is Lifemark rated PG-13? Lifemark is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some thematic material.
Violence: Protestors outside an abortion yell at a pregnant teen: the protestors are seen as heroic. A teenager’s boyfriend loses his temper when she tells him she wants to carry her baby to term instead of having an abortion.
Sexual Content: Unwed sexual activity is implied in two pregnancies but no sex is shown on screen.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None noted.
Page last updated September 11, 2022
Lifemark Parents' Guide
What are your views on abortion? Do you think it should always be legal? Always illegal? Legal in some circumstances? Why do you have these beliefs about abortion? Have you ever had a discussion with someone who has different opinions? What did you learn from them?
Has adoption ever touched your life? Do you have friends or relatives who are adopted? What do you see as the pros and cons of adoption?
Related home video titles:
Other pro-life films include Unplanned and October Baby.The first is based on the experience of a Planned Parenthood manager who later became a pro-life advocate. The second tells the tale of a young woman who survived an attempted abortion and set out to find her birth mother.
A pregnant teenager decides to give her baby up for adoption in Juno.Although this movie features an adoption, it is not written as a pro-life film.
Never Rarely Sometimes Alwaystakes a different perspective, following the experience of a teenager who chooses to abort a pregnancy.
In Look Both Ways, a pregnancy test is a defining experience for a young woman. As her life splits along two tracks, she has a child in one and follows her career in another.