Have today’s movies lost religion? Not necessarily — but sometimes it helps to know where to look. For instance, mainstream films are more likely to include sympathetic depictions of religious faith in period pieces than in stories set in the present day.
Here’s my 30-second take on Machine Gun Preacher. See also my related interview with Sam Childers.
The recent announcement that Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky is moving forward with a $130 million adaptation of the story of Noah’s ark comes on the heels of last week’s news that Steven Spielberg is being sought to direct a new epic on the life of Moses for Warner Bros. These are just two of a remarkably high number of Hollywood biblical projects in the works at the moment.
The Adjustment Bureau and Hereafter are among a remarkable number of recent and upcoming Hollywood films in some way invoking themes of spirituality, religion or belief. 2010 was particularly rife with such Hollywood religiosity, quantitatively if not necessarily qualitatively.
Are religious themes cropping up in more mainstream movies these days? Stephen Whitty, film critic for New Jersey’s largest newspaper, the Newark Star Ledger, thinks they may be. In a recent article Whitty connects the dots on a number of recent Hollywood offerings that touch on spiritual questions or themes of faith, from Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter, starring Matt Damon, to the Ed Norton/Robert De Niro prison film Stone, from Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger to the Disney sports film Secretariat.
An old witticism has it that Golden Age Hollywood was “a Jewish-owned business selling Catholic theology to Protestant America.” If not strictly accurate, the bon mot contains more than a kernel of truth.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.