This Gripping, Pro-Life World War II Movie is Also a Chick-Flick … and Its Hero is a Christian Nationalist
It sounds too good to be true, perhaps. But my headline does not exaggerate. The newly released biopic on Netflix entitled De Gaulle is all those things and more. (Warning: It is filmed in Foreign, which I don’t speak, so it uses subtitles, except when Winston Churchill is speaking English. And there are no famous actors you’ll recognize, such as Amber Heard or Whoopi Goldberg. Sorry!)
The film checks all the boxes.
De Gaulle is exciting, even if you know in advance how things turn out. (Spoiler: the Nazis eventually get beaten.) It’s filmed and acted beautifully, with sensitive, intelligent writing. The story is heartwarming, even a tear-jerker in places, with love for family and country under God at the very heart of the plot. We get no raunchy scenes, profanity, or gratuitous violence — even though it’s a war movie. The characters are open, unabashed Christians, who live out their faith, and battle demonic evil with pluck and courage. So it’s a story for people of every age, which a family can watch together. The kind of movie few studios make anymore.
De Gaulle’s Secret Motive for Really Hating the Nazis
Did I mention that one of the main characters is De Gaulle’s beloved daughter, Anne, who had Down Syndrome? She was born to the couple back when such kids were called “Mongoloids” and their handicap often blamed on maternal syphilis. Doctors recommend that the busy couple with a large family relegate Anne to an institution, but they refuse. Instead, they lovingly home-school her, and she thrives.
In fact, the film accurately shows us that Anne became the most beloved child of the close-knit De Gaulle family. Charles relied on her love and simple goodness to raise his spirits, as he battled against invaders who were even then massacring handicapped children in Germany, the first phase of the Holocaust. (The West is currently doing much the same, aborting in some countries more than 90% of such children.)
So there’s your pro-life angle, which parents might use as a teaching moment about eugenics new and old.
Standing Almost Alone with Winston Churchill
De Gaulle gives us an insider’s glimpse of how the highly advanced, huge French army collapsed in a just a few weeks, instead of fighting ferociously to victory as it had 20 years before. We see De Gaulle on the battlefield, leading French tanks in one of their few victories in 1940. But his timid, dithering superiors manage to squander it.
For years, De Gaulle had urged the higher-ups to coordinate air power, armor, and infantry in the aggressive, lightning tactics the Germans were teaching their troops. But they didn’t listen. The French army stayed stuck in static, defensive tactics borrowed from 1914, which proved a recipe for disaster.
The film gives the first-hand experience of an historical icon, exploring what motivated de Gaulle — almost alone — to reject France’s surrender to Nazi invaders, and continue the struggle in exile, from Britain. Remember, de Gaulle founded the Free French movement while the Hitler/Stalin Pact was still in force. So France’s powerful Communists collaborated with Germany, on Stalin’s orders. They’d only join the Resistance in mid-1941, when Hitler attacked the nation they were really loyal to, the Soviet Union.
Christian Nationalism vs. Defeatism and Collaboration
You know what drove de Gaulle? Christian Nationalism. That’s right, he was a fierce and unabashed patriot, proud of his nation’s heritage and determined to defend its institutions against arrogant Darwinists who claimed to represent “progress, “science,” and “the future.” De Gaulle was a devout, committed Catholic, at a time when Europe’s cognoscenti (left and right) were sneering at faith.
De Gaulle’s beliefs and politics in every way fitted the definition of “Christian Nationalism” that our chattering classes (including some collaborators inside our churches) are using to shame and cancel populist politicians, from Donald Trump to Ron De Santis.
We see de Gaulle try to stiffen the wilting flowers inside France’s military and political elites, to no avail. Like our own NeverTrumpers, these Frenchmen seem almost eager to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, to concede that their deadly enemies somehow are destined to prevail. And then to seek a cozy accommodation with the newly victorious foe.
But let’s leave the likes of David “Vichy” French alone. (The recent victories Donald Trump made possible at the Supreme Court have made this a tough week for them.) And simply enjoy De Gaulle.
John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”