the message behind the movie (1)

A final distinction we should be careful to make when assessing movies is between the message and the purpose. We should avoid the temptation to assign motive to moviemakers based on the message of their movie. There are several important reasons for this.

First, if we incorrectly judge a filmaker’s motives based on certain elements of her film, we risk slandering the filmmaker. …

A second reason to avoid assigning motive is that films are rarely the creation of a single person. … In fact, it is so rare for one person to receive singular credit for a film that the industry reserves a term for people who do: auteur. …

A final reason we should be slow to judge a moviemaker’s motive based on the message of his or her movie is that sometimes a movie may communicate a message the creator did not intend. In fact, there are times when a movie’s indirect (and unintended) message overshadows the creator’s (intended) message. An example of this is the 2006 film Facing the Giants. The movie’s direct message is that we must trust and glorify God regardless of what happens in our lives. This is stated by various characters enough times that it is unmistakable. The clear theme of the movie is that we ought to give our concerns up to God, because we should desire his will above our own. However, in the course of the movie, no one faces disappointment with any of God’s decisions, because every character trusts God and ultimately gets what he or she wanted in the first place! The indirect message of the film comes through loud and clear: a life lived for God gets you what you want. This unbiblical message might not be what the filmmakers had in mind, but it is what their story communicates.

The Message Behind the Movie: How to Engage With a Film Without Disengaging Your Faith by Douglas M. Beaumont (Moody Publishers, 2009), pp.35-36

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