Tuesday, March 25, 2014

God's Not Dead- Movie Review

I went to see this movie with a group from my church. This has been critizised by a lot of people on the internet. I don't get this, I have also seen movies such as the A-Team with groups from a church. My daughter's youth group went to see the lego movie. I have also seen movies as part of a non church organized group. To say that the gross for the weekend is somehow inflated because church groups went to see the movie is just silly. "Thor 2 would have done horribly if those sci-fi/fantasy and comic book folks wouldn't have gone to see it."
On to the review. The movie was well produced and the acting was well done. The story was somewhat contrived, and the writers were very heavy handed. One of my biggest criticisms of the movie is the demonization of atheists. All atheists in this movie are bad people. In real life, you have good people that are atheists as well. In inverse is also true. The Christian characters are all noble to a fault. There was a little bit of inconsistency as well. A muslim man makes his daughter wear a head scarf and cover her face in public but says nothing about her short sleeve shirt. This is likely just an oversight, but a noticable one.

I find myself thinking about who this movie is for. I don't think it was designed to show atheists the error of their ways and I don't think it will do that. I think there was a message in there for church leaders to understand that their congregation and their city are their mission fields and are in as much of a need as more exotic locations. The real message was to believers in general. This was not a conversion movie, this was a stand up for God movie. The movie tells believers that they just can't sit there and go with the flow, unfortunately that isn't a message that a lot of people want to hear. It seems that some of "Christians" just want to demonize others and to be lifted up. While this movie does do some lifting up and a little too much demonizing, that was not the point of the movie.
I think a lot of people will critizice how muslims are depicted in this movie as the father is very violent with a daughter that converts to christianity. I may have been among them until I met a young couple that are missionaries in Pakistan. In Pakistan, your religion is your identity, it is on your ID. I believe the question of what religion you are translates into "Who are you?" It is hard for christians to find employment as they are openly discriminated against in that country. I can imagine the very devout father being upset about this. The film also shows how devestated the father is at what he did.
That leads to my conclusion. This movie, despite its flaws, is able to invoke a strong emotional response. Will most people get the messae in this movie, no. Will this movie reach audiences that it was created for, probably not. Will this movie convert people, again, probably not. This movie, at its core, is not about building you up and making you feel right or justified in your faith. What it is about is making look deep inside yourself and truly consider what you would do if you were asked to write God is dead on a paper in a room full of people who had already done so. I don't think most people are going to like the answer to that question if they answer it honestly. God is not dead!

1 comment:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

As a Christian, I had reservations about this movie, because you just never know what they will do with it. Sad atheists are portrayed as evil. They are still God's children, just lost.
Will wait for NetFlix for this one.