Ashley Bratcher became a household name to many when she portrayed a former Planned Parenthood executive turned pro-life advocate in the Pure Flix movie “Unplanned.” In the years since, she has carved a niche for herself as an entertainer who sees acting as activism.
Bratcher is now working on “Finding Faith,” her seventh project with the faith-based streaming platform Pure Flix. The movie, set to debut in November, also stars Vivica A. Fox and John Schneider. The story centers on Victoria (Bratcher), a Christian advice columnist whose personal life has gone topsy-turvy in the wake of her mother’s death, a trauma that throws her faith into a tailspin.
Bratcher’s character is also dealing with difficulties in her crumbling marriage — a tough reality the Christian actor said isn’t portrayed well in many films today.
“I think this is a movie a lot of people are going to be able to relate to,” Bratcher told CBN’s Faithwire, “because, sometimes, I think, people expect — as a Christian — to have their life together and everything be perfect, and that’s not the case. As Christians, we face a lot of trials in our lives, and it’s nice to see someone struggle and rediscover her faith.”
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It was her character’s splintered marriage that really drew Bratcher to the Pure Flix project.
After reading the script, the actor said she thought of the modern “hookup culture” that has denigrated the value of marriage as God designed it: a lifelong union between one man and one woman.
“Marriage has become somewhat disposable and to be able to see people learn to fight well was something that I wanted to put out there, because there’s not a ton of movies about reconciling marriage — at least not in a long time,” Bratcher said. “[T]his is a movie about a woman who is taking control — or trying to take control — of her life and figure it out and really learn to fight well. We always think of fighting in a negative way, but there’s a good fight to be had, and I really like that about this movie.”
Nowadays, Bratcher said she is very selective about the roles she’ll take on, seeing the film industry as not just a vehicle for entertainment but as a tool to raise awareness and even spark societal change.
Movies, she said, “impact culture so much” and “reach people in a way that other things can’t.”
“Think about movies you remember from your childhood and how they influence who you are today,” Bratcher said. “Being able to tell a story like this and allow people to see the raw and vulnerable parts of someone who is a Christian … is a way to draw in people and help them understand that God is still good, even when bad things happen, that He is still with you and He is working things for your good when you seek Him.”
“If you’re seeking His will, then He’s gonna be there with you,” she added. “It might not look like it in the moment; His timing is sometimes very different from our own. But I want people to understand that journey.”
While it is tricky to pinpoint exactly what percentage of marriages in the U.S. truly end in divorce, the number is undeniably higher than it ought to be, and that is cause for concern. It is generally believed nearly half of all marriages will end in separation.
So often, it’s those fractured relationships that cause crises of faith in people’s lives. Part of the problem, Bratcher argued, is reconciliation and sacrificial love simply aren’t modeled well — or, in some cases, at all — in culture.
“Marriage is good, and a biblical marriage is even better,” she said. “You learn how to put Jesus in the center and it’s about serving each other. I think, a lot of times, in this culture, we’re taught to be selfish, and that shows up in relationships. But when you learn to serve the person that you love, it builds more intimacy and you can have a beautiful, peaceful marriage, even with bumps along the way, and have a really fulfilling life with a partner to go on the journey with.”
Although she’s certainly made a name for herself as one who champions activist causes, Bratcher is quick to say that was not her original intention when she stepped into the entertainment industry.
It was her role in the 2019 movie “Unplanned,” in which she played the real-life abortion executive turned pro-life activist Abby Johnson, that completely shifted Bratcher’s perspective on her career as an actor.
“I don’t know any actor who was like, ‘I wanna play an anti-abortion activist,'” Bratcher joked. “That was not on the dream role list, but it changed my life and it shifted my perspective, because I learned that movies did have a very impactful way of reaching people. And as a mother and a wife, if I’m going to leave my family, it’s important to me that the movies that I make are going to reach people and have a positive influence on their lives.”
“Intention has become a very important word to me,” she continued. “I want to be able to make sure that I’m putting good out in the world, and whether that looks like a movie about marriage or showing people the sanctity of life or helping expose corruption — those are the kinds of movies I want to make.”
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