24 August 2014

Noah (a movie review?)

We just watched Noah, the new movie interpretation of one of the most-told and well-known stories from the Bible. Reviewers and movie-goers, not surprisingly, have been largely preoccupied with its level of accuracy. I would urge anyone coming to see the film to take it, as we should any film interpretation of a story we know, with the understanding that it is being interpreted by a person who may or may not have the same views of the world as we do. There will never be a movie that everyone agrees is the perfect interpretation of a story. Having said this, I think that Noah does an extremely apt job of expressing the way in which our world has always been full of diversity that does polarizes more often than it enriches and unites.

If you do not believe in the version of Noah's story from the Bible, so be it. But if you can see this film and not be shaken by the handful of scenes portraying the men and women God chooses to wipe off the earth, then I must say that this would make me truly sad. While the scenes might be of the type that many movie-goers have learned to expect (blood, betrayal, raucous and unruly behavior, etc.), within the context of this film and their direct correlation to the sin of man and man's unwillingness to cede his will for God's, I found it almost too much to keep watching. One character in particular (who I am quite sure is not in the original account in the Bible, though I haven't gone back to check yet) seems to verily represent this mindset; that man makes his own choices, and that he will decide whether he will be wiped from the earth or not. I'm sorry, but if you believe in any kind of higher power, you must understand how absurd that sounds. If you do not, okay. Explain to me why, and we can discuss the matter further from there.

All of this is to say that I am greatly shaken by this film. I am reminded of the dire need for love and compassion in our world today, and that we are ALL called to bigger things than we could ever dream. Another subject that it brings up, and that relates directly to one's attitude about man vis à vis man's world, environment, etc., is the issue of animals. The scenes that were the hardest for me to watch were ones where the life of an animal was given virtually no regard by man; not even the acknowledgement of the fact that in consuming an animal, we must first take its life.

This was not an easy film to watch, but it was worthwhile to watch. Whether you are familiar with the Bible story or not, I urge you to see it. If you are Christian, I would encourage you to try to watch it only after first setting aside what you know to be truth from God, in His Word--in other words, things that might get in the way of you seeing other, more contextualized or varied interpretations, of the truth. It illustrated for me some of the most important things that I believe Noah's story in the Bible was meant to: To recognize something as clean, it must be set next to something dirty. To know something is good, we must have some referent for evil. And to see light as light, there is a certain amount of darkness needed, that God, in turn, uses to make it all the brighter.

Do not despair. As Fred Rogers said, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." This is true for hope and joy. We have a handful of glowing examples of these attributes that overcame amazing adversity: Mother Teresa, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela. And as I look to the Bible, I see a host of others who preceded and encouraged those people that we have watched "help" in recent history. Look for them--perhaps they are even inside of you.

1 comment:

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