I saw the movie Noah this past weekend, and before and after seeing it, I knew this movie was going to catch some attention from the American church.
The movie got a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes (compared to the 20% God’s Not Dead got, at $9.1 million in the box office after several weeks), grossed $44 million on opening weekend, rising to the number one box office spot right now by a long way. So by all accounts, it was very well received.
However, the inflammatory reactions I have seen towards the movie from other Christians would make you think Noah was a terribly done, offensive, and morally twisted telling of what should have been a great story.
This is extremely upsetting to me. It’s keeping me up at night.
The reality of this movie is that it was not poorly done at all. The acting (which really carried the film), special effects, soundtrack, and cinematography, the entire package: it is all first rate. A film maker took a few short passages and turned it into a full length movie that actually resonated with film critics. That in itself is amazing. I wish to direct you to Craig Gross’ amazing article on this subject.
So why is this work of art unappreciated by Christians?
Christians expected their image of the story of Noah to be brought to life for their own edification. When Christians laud God’s Not Dead for its ability to tell Christians how right they are and how wrong everyone else is about everything and then turn and criticize Noah for not showing the story how they wanted it shown, they prove this point. Christians want art that pats them on the back and supports their ideas. And they have chosen this as yet another hill to die on.
Let me ask this question to Christians: have you ever considered that maybe this art was made for someone other than you?
Maybe this movie met our culture where it is?
I spent the whole movie completely wrapped up in the emotional stories of each of the characters. They all had different perspectives of God, which radically changed how they lived. From each set of characters, a theme was developed that truly captured a nuanced understanding of how to view Old Testament scripture. I didn’t expect that, but I was blown away by how deep this movie was.
Instead of criticizing art for how it didn’t line up to your way of thinking, maybe consider what kind of perspective you could learn from it.
While I would say it was only 65% scripturally accurate, and would have liked to see some of those gaps filled, to say the movie had no value and was completely devoid of God is a hyperbole and it also means you didn’t really understand what you were seeing. Some people are up in arms that Noah took Genesis at least partially allegorically.
Christians have outright shown their hand with this movie, showing how wrapped up they are in their desire for their own beliefs to be edified. I want you to consider for a minute that maybe this movie met the culture where they were at, as Jesus frequently did, and showed them a work of art that is, by all accounts, a beautiful understanding of humanity and how humanity understands God.
Don’t believe me? See my full review here. (Warning, all the spoilers)